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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

HELCO not anticipating more power disruptions

By Hugh Clark
Advertiser Big Island Bureau

HILO, Hawai'i — Hawaii Electric Light Co. is not expecting further problems with its power supply in the immediate future, Distribution Manager Jay Ignacio said yesterday.

The company had warned of rolling blackouts during the weekend because of repairs at the Hamakua Energy Partners plant in Haina. But there were no further disruptions after electrical service was cut for a little more than two hours on Friday afternoon.

The repairs cost HELCO 32 megawatts of power production, but Ignacio said conservation by large power consumers helped reduce loads during peak demand during the weekend.

With the Haina plant back up to full power and with the return of a Puna Geothermal Venture unit, "the generation margins have improved and power generation reserve problems are not expected," he said.

However, two major HELCO units in Hilo and Puna, with a combined production of 25.5 megawatts, remain out of service and Puna Geothermal is producing only five of its contracted 30 megawatts. Its main production well failed in April and a replacement site is being drilled.