Hawai‘i Electric Light is developing contingency plans to provide options for restoring electricity to communities in lower Puna that may be cut off by lava flows. With lava moving more quickly over the past 48 hours, engineers were working near affected areas on Saturday to identify suitable locations for portable generators and other equipment.
“For the past week, engineers from Hawai‘i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric have been analyzing possible scenarios and creating plans that can help power critical infrastructure, such as cell phone towers,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee-Moku. “We’ve developed several plans that can be implemented to provide short-term solutions. Work on long-term solutions will continue and will be dependent on the impact of the lava and other seismic activity in this area, as well as guidance from Civil Defense authorities.”
Plans include using traditional power systems such as large capacity diesel generators as well as portable solar-battery-generator units. Options also include the use of steel poles that are able to span lava flows and temporarily connect to undamaged distribution lines.
Hawai‘i Electric Light has created a page on its website for the latest information for customers affected by the eruption and for those who may have questions about billing and service during the emergency.
Photo: Lava fountains from Fissure 20 in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone. Photo taken May 19, 2018, at 7:37 a.m. USGS photo.