Categorized | Featured, Hurricane, News, Weather

Iselle: Updates for Aug. 17, 2014

UPDATED (4:40 PM on 8/17/2014)

Power restoration update from Hawai‘i Electric Light

Utility lines still down at the bottom of Makuu Drive and Ala Heiau Road in Hawaiian Paradise Park. This is one of the areas where crews are still working to restore power and services. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Utility lines still down at the bottom of Makuu Drive and Ala Heiau Road in Hawaiian Paradise Park. This is one of the areas where crews are still working to restore power and services. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Hilo, Aug. 17, 2014, 12:30 p.m. – Hawai‘i Electric Light is reporting steady progress in restoring electric service to customers who lost power as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle. Service to an additional 800 customers was restored yesterday, primarily in upper Puna. Currently, an estimated 1,900 customers remain without power.

Service was restored to the end of the Pahoa-Kalapana Road. Restoration progress also was made in Hawaiian Acres, Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores, and Hawaiian Paradise Park. Pockets of customers within these areas may still be out of power.

More than 200 workers have mobilized to work in the field on restoring power, including 26 electrical line crews, 19 tree trimming crews, and 30 construction crews contracted to dig holes for utility poles. The combined workforce will include crews from Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, and contracted companies.

Areas of work

Today, electrical line crews expect to continue making progress in the following areas: Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Seaview Estates, Kapoho, Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores, Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Acres and other portions of upper Puna.

Some areas of focus today include:

  • Nanawele Estates – In Nanawale Estates, crews are working on the main power line that brings electric service to the subdivision. Contracted crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Leilani Estates – In Leilani Estates, crews have restored power along Leilani Boulevard and are now working on Kahukai Street and side streets, which suffered extensive damage from fallen trees.
  • Seaview Estates – In Seaview Estates, crews are working to restore service to affected customers on side streets in isolated areas. Contracted crews are also preparing the area by clearing and trimming trees and digging holes to replace utility poles damaged by falling trees.
  • Kapoho – In Kapoho, crews are working on the main power line along Kapoho Road to Kapoho Beach Lots.
  • Hawaiian Beaches/Hawaiian Shores – In Hawaiian Beaches, crews are still addressing side streets in the vicinity of Puni Makai North.
  • Hawaiian Paradise Park – In Hawaiian Paradise Park, crews will be replacing poles on side streets within the subdivision and restoring power.

Restoration progress may be impacted by access due to storm debris, fallen trees, or other conditions in the field.

Even if customers don’t see crews in their area, we want customers to know that work is being done to restore power to their communities. In many cases, additional work on the electric system is needed in other locations to restore service.

Although crews are making progress and restoration in many areas may be much faster, preliminary estimates indicate it could take up to three weeks – and in some cases, even longer – to restore power to the areas with the most significant damage. Actual restoration times for each location will depend on the extent of the damage.

New location for Customer Information Center in Puna

Hawai‘i Electric Light’s Customer Information Center is located at the Leilani Estates Community Center at 13-3441 Moku Street in lower Puna. It will remain open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – and longer if needed – as the restoration process continues. The center at the Hawaiian Shores Community Center in Hawaiian Beaches is closed.

Company representatives are on hand to answer questions from the public and provide the status of repairing the damage. A charging station also will be available at the center. Customers may bring their electronic devices to the center and get them charged there.

For more information on the Customer Information Center, call (808) 969-6999. To report outages or downed lines, call (808) 969-6666. Please do not call the Hawaiian Shores Community Center.

Background on restoration process

The process for restoring service involves many steps that need to be coordinated to ensure public and utility workers’ safety. We also must ensure we deploy the right resources to ensure crews can restore power as quickly as possible. Here’s an overview of the restoration process:

  • Assess damage: Damage assessments by field crews identify the extent of damage and the specific materials – including poles, transformers, and power lines – that need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Clear trees and debris/dig holes: Contracted tree trimming and construction crews then need to clear fallen trees and debris and dig holes for utility poles
  • Install poles, restring lines, and install transformers: Electrical line crews can then be deployed to begin installing the poles, framing the cross arms on the poles, restringing lines, and installing transformers and other equipment.
  • Repair main line first before energizing: Work is first done on the main lines serving subdivisions to restore the connection into those neighborhoods. Side streets can then be restored. Even after power is restored to a neighborhood, there may still be damage at individual homes or pockets of homes within a neighborhood that will need to be addressed separately.

UPDATED (9:45 AM on 8/17/2014)

Saturday (Aug 16), more than two dozen Hawaii Gas employees volunteered their time to provide 400 hot meals to Big Island residents affected by Tropical Storm Iselle. Employees passed out meals at the Nanawale Community Association.

Hawaii Gas cooked 150 lbs of chicken, 24 cans of spam, lots of corned beef and corn.

They will be providing meals to residents again Sunday, August 17, 2014 at the Nanawale Community Association from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Hawaii Gas is also loaning propane cylinders to those who really need it until power is restored.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Community Assistance Message


The Red Cross handing out supplies at the Pahoa Community Center Parking Lot. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

The Red Cross handing out supplies at the Pahoa Community Center Parking Lot. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

HONOLULU, HI- August 16, 2014: The Hawaii Red Cross Shelter at the Pahoa Community Center remains open to support the individuals and families impacted by the storm. Residents needing to stay in the shelter will be provided with meals and a cot to sleep on and will also be able to take a shower and charge their phones at any time of the day.

On Friday night, there were 30 overnight stays at the shelter. Since August 7th, there have been approximately 2,433 overnight stays at 32 Red Cross shelters statewide.

Volunteer Red Cross nurses and mental health professionals have helped 883 people with health assessments and crisis counseling. The Red Cross has over 200 workers assisting in response to this disaster and about 94% are volunteers.

At the Red Cross shelters and distribution centers, 3,439 meals and snacks were served and 11,832 relief items were distributed, including tarps, batteries, flashlights, water, ice, comfort kits, clean up kits, bleach, work gloves and trash bags to those in need thanks to corporate and community partners like Foodland, Walmart, Safeway, P&G/Duracell, Home Depot, Target, CVS Caremark/Longs Drugs and Chevron.

Red Cross volunteers will continue to distribute meals and snacks on Sunday, August 17 to those in need at the following locations and times (as supplies last):

  • Pahoa Community Center parking lot – 15-2910 Puna Road, Pahoa (10am-1pm)
  • Mountain View Gym – 18-1345 A Volcano Road, Volcano, HI 96771 (10am-1pm)

Big Island Red Cross Caseworkers are also continuing to visit the hardest hit areas to provide referrals, guidance or additional assistance as needed to help with the recovery process.

In addition, the Red Cross will be at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and the County of Hawaii’s Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers to provide information on available services to those who were affected by Iselle. The Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers will be at following locations and times:
​Mountain View Gym (18-1345 A Volcano Road, Volcano, HI 96771) on Sunday, August 17 from 8am to 8pm

Stay up to date with the latest information by following “Hawaii Red Cross” on Facebook and Twitter or by going to our website at Contact the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter by calling (808)-734-2101 or visit us at 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816.

How You Can Help

Donations to the Hawaii Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts are also being accepted at local Foodland stores and Malama Markets from now until August 30th.

Help people affected by disasters like tropical storms and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.


U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced he will rejoin his team, who have remained on the ground in Puna, on Tuesday to assist with the recovery efforts, specifically focusing on federal funds, the mitigation of albizia trees, and disaster recovery.
Schatz will meet with state and county officials and continue his collaboration with community members from Puna.

“I said on Friday night that my commitment to Puna’s recovery extends beyond any election or any election results, and I meant it,” Schatz said. “This is going to take time and effort, and it won’t be easy, but I will continue to do everything that I can to be helpful.”

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