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Hawaiian Electric Urges Hurricane Preparedness

Hawaiian Electric News Release

The 2021 Central Pacific hurricane season starts on June 1 and Hawaiian Electric is advising customers, both residential and commercial, to be prepared and have emergency plans in place.

Hawaiian Electric crews work year-round to harden the company’s five island grids so they are better able to withstand the effects of powerful storms. A major focus of Hawaiian Electric’s efforts to build resilience involves reinforcing poles, lines and other equipment. The utility also spent $18 million in 2020 to clear trees and vegetation from around power lines and equipment, resulting in fewer and briefer outages during storms.

Forecasters are predicting two to five tropical cyclones for the Central Pacific in 2021, an estimate that includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. That compares to a normal season with a range of four or five tropical cyclones, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

Hawaiian Electric’s work to boost resilience includes equipment upgrades as well as longer-term planning efforts that will benefit customers well into the future.

On Molokai, crews have installed heavier, insulated conductors in tree-dense areas to help prevent vegetation-related outages in areas prone to trees and branches falling during high winds and damaging electrical equipment.

To prepare for the hurricane season customers can refer to the company’s Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, available at hawaiianelectric.com/prepare. Printed copies of the handbook are available for pickup at public libraries. You may also call Hawaiian Electric at (808) 871-2304 for copies.

Residents should develop their own emergency plans and consider these tips:

• Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns and batteries. Be prepared to monitor communications over emergency broadcast radio stations.

• Store enough water, non-perishable food, medicine and personal hygiene supplies for your family members and pets to last at least 14 days.

• Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric appliances and equipment during a storm or a power outage. When power comes back and is stable, plug in the equipment one at a time.

• Shut off your electricity at the main breaker or switch if you need to evacuate.

• Consider having a backup generator if you are dependent on an electrically powered life support system. Or, make plans to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available. Be prepared to take your medical equipment and medications with you.

• If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Stay away from downed power lines – at least 30 feet or more (at least two car lengths).

For updates and alerts, follow Hawaiian Electric on Twitter or via our free mobile app (available on Apple App and Google Play stores).

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