For some, it’s been months since their phone worked.
Waipahu resident Lillian Okazaki, 86, says she hasn’t had phone service for about a month.
“I’m worried about nighttime,” said Okazaki, “because usually I get the pain at night.”
Okazaki has stomach cancer. One night, she needed help, but she lives alone, so she walked to a neighbor’s home to use the phone.
“They’re working on it. That’s all they can tell us, I guess,” said Okazaki.
“You don’t have any other information from Hawaiian Telcom?” KHON2 asked.
“No. They do have my number and said they’re working on it. That’s all they say,” she said.
“My sister has been calling Hawaiian Telcom to try to get some answers about this intermittent service, and to this day, we’re still not sure why,” added daughter Melanie Okazaki.
KHON2 pressed Hawaiian Telcom for answers. In a statement, spokesperson Ann Nishida Fry said:
“Ms. Okazaki was part of an outage caused by the record-setting wet weather this fall. The repair required Hawaiian Telcom technicians to cut out and replace a 2,100-pair underground cable and complete more than 8,400 individual splices, which is painstaking, tedious work. In addition, the repair work had to cease whenever it rained to prevent further damage to the cable.
The repair work, which restored service to the majority of customers, was completed last week. However, as our customer care team went through our process of calling impacted customers to verify service restoral, they found that a number of customers were still experiencing issues. A crew will be dispatched tomorrow to find out what’s continuing to cause disruptions to some customers. Hawaiian Telcom sincerely apologizes to all impacted customers for the inconvenience and is committed to restoring service as quickly as possible.
Customers who have medical conditions or are elderly and live alone without an alternate form of contact can request a cell phone loan by contacting Hawaiian Telcom’s 24-Hour Customer Care Center at 643-6111 or by submitting an online request at hawaiiantel.com/support. A Hawaiian Telcom manager went to Mrs. Okazaki’s residence this afternoon and dropped off a cell phone for her to use until her service is restored.”
“As long as I can contact somebody, especially the ambulance if I need the ambulance,” said Okazaki.
The Public Utilities Commission started an “informal inquiry” on complaints against Hawaiian Telcom.
In a statement, Chief of Compliance Section Gary Kobayashi said: “It is very early in our investigation. Information requests were sent out, and the PUC recently received Hawaiian Telcom’s responses.”