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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 8:25 p.m., Friday, December 7, 2007

HECO crews working on pocket outages on Oahu

Advertiser Staff

Hawaiian Electric crews continued working today to restore power following this week's rains and windstorms, and as of 8:15 p.m. about 650 customers in small pockets were without power.

An additional 150 people, mostly on the Leeward Coast, also were without power in areas where poles went down.

An additional outage was reported about 4 p.m. in Nanakuli affecting about 750 customers. All those customers had power back about 5:30 p.m., HECO spokesman Peter Rossegg said.

The company asks customers who are still without power and who have not reported their outage to call 548-7961 to report it.

Following a full day of work across the island, company crews were able to restore power to approximately 450 customers who were in pocket outages as of this morning.

Crews will be working throughout tonight, as they have through the last several days. However, customers still without power now should prepare to be without power at least through the night.

Pockets of outages may involve a few homes or a portion of a neighborhood. These pockets are scattered across the island. The major areas where pocket outages remain include: 'Aiea, 'Ewa Beach, La'ie, Hale'iwa, Hau'ula, Hawai'i Kai, Kahala, Kunia, Windward, Manoa, Makiki, Moanalua, Nu'uanu, Palolo, Pearl City, Wahiawa, Waiakamilo, Waialua, Waikiki, Waimanalo, Waimea-Kahana and Waipahu.

For each of these pocket outages, Hawaiian Electric must send a crew to the scene so the extent of the trouble can be assessed, the right materials and other resources procured and repairs made, a time-consuming and potentially lengthy process.

In some cases, repairs may involve pole or line replacement. With bad weather including gusty winds and rain continuing through the day, restoring all of these pockets has been a slow process. In some worst cases, customers still without power may possibly not be restored for several days.

"We sincerely apologize to customers who are still without power after all this time and thank them for their continued patience and understanding. This is a full court press and we are working to restore them as soon as we possibly can," said Lynne Unemori, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate relations.

Customers who are still without power should be especially cautious with perishable food that has not been refrigerated or frozen for several days. When in doubt, throw it out.

Customers using portable generators should be careful to run the equipment only in well ventilated area and keep fuel away from open flames. If using open flame for cooking indoors, be cautious of fire.

Customers without power are reminded to unplug sensitive electronic equipment to avoid damage in case of a power surge when power is restored. Power should be turned off to electric water heaters at the circuit breaker to reduce the initial demand for power and reduce the risk of blowing fuses on the circuit when it is restored.