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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, December 28, 2006

Study finds HECO acted reasonably after October quakes

Advertiser Staff

Hawaiian Electric Co. employees reacted reasonably during the Oct. 15 earthquakes and subsequent blackout on O'ahu.

The 90-page report, by Idaho-based Power Engineers Inc., did not criticize HECO for its actions following the earthquakes but offered suggestions for improving its response in future islandwide outages.

Two earthquakes measuring 6.7 and 6.0 on Oct. 15 set off a chain reaction resulting in power being cut to 291,000 customers on O'ahu.

The report, which was submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission, provided 9 technical recommendations to improve HECO's response. One recommendation called for further study on how the utility restored power to critical customers such as hospitals, and another called for additional employee training for re-starting HECO generators once they quit.

"While the report provides a vote of confidence in our system plans and the performance of our employees, it also points to potential areas of improvement," said Tom Joaquin, HECO's senior vice president of operations.

"We learn from every major emergency response and we always want to do better."