HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaiian Electric is releasing its wildfire safety strategy Friday. It’s detailing some immediate and long-term change it’s implementing with the risk of wildfires growing. That includes the possibility of overnight outages.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
Aug. 8 proved just how damaging conditions of a red flag warning can be. With the risk of wildfires growing in the state, Hawaiian Electric is updating its 2019 Wildfire Safety Strategy. The three phase strategy starts with immediate changes. That includes sending out spotters during red flag warnings and shutting off power lines if a disturbance is detected.
“The power is going to stay off until we can go out and visually confirm or do an inspection to make sure it’s safe to restore that power,” said Darren Pai, Hawaiian Electric Company spokesperson. “Now, depending upon the circumstances, the location, the time of day, this could be a short process. It could take several hours, possibly even overnight.”
Hawaiian Electric is releasing its wildfire safety strategy Friday. It’s detailing some immediate and long-term changes it’s implementing with the risk of wildfires growing. That includes the possibility of overnight outages.
HECO said, longer term solutions include deploying sensors and cameras that will help determine areas at risk. Work is already underway.
“Upgrading our lines, moving some places from copper lines to aluminum wire, replacing some wood poles with steel poles in some areas,” Pai said.
HECO is also in discussions about a public safety power shutoff program as a last resort option, which would shut off power in certain areas before severe weather.
Meanwhile, the House Wildfire Prevention Working Group is releasing its draft report following the Maui fires. One recommendation is developing best practices regarding electrical power during times of possible ignition.
“We have to see how this is going to be implemented,” said Rep. Darius Kila, (D) House Wildfire Prevention Working Group Co-Chair. “I think a lot of the proposals are definitely responsive in what people are asking for, but the biggest thing is from generation of proposing the ideas to implementing, how are they going to best put this forward.”
The Wildfire Prevention Working Group has its first public meeting on Nov. 17.