Hawai‘i Electric Light is warning customers that power interruptions are likely if the lava continues to advance toward Highway 132.
“The company has been monitoring lava activity and is ready to implement its plans to perform planned switching to reroute power to customers in the lower Puna areas,” a release from the company read Monday morning.
Hawai`i Electric Light officials say the work will begin at about 3 p.m., on Monday, however it may occur sooner if conditions change.
During switching operations, customers in the following areas will experience a power interruption for about one hour.
- Leilani Estates
- Kamaili Road
- Kalapana and surrounding communities including Black Sands Beach, Kalapana Seaview Estates, Kehena Beach, and Puna Beach Palisades
- Nanawale Estates and Nanawale Farm Ranch
- Tangerine Acres
- Pahoa High School
- And areas surrounding these subdivisions
The areas in and around Kapoho will experience an extended power outage if lava breaches Highway 132. Power in the Kapoho area will not be restored until the company is able to complete a full assessment and implement alternative plans to serve this area once it is safe for company personnel to do so.
“Hawai‘i Electric Light appreciates its customers’ patience and understanding,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, company spokesperson. “The switching work is being completed as a precaution to minimize the duration of power interruptions in the event utility equipment is impacted by lava.”
The company says lava has damaged and destroyed a lot of utility equipment and everyone should treat lines, transformers, and other utility equipment as energized even if the equipment is on the ground.
In addition, the public should stay away from downed or low-hanging power lines and assume they are energized and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help.
The Hawai‘i Electric Light website also provides the latest information for customers affected by the eruption and for those who may have questions about billing and service during the emergency.
Customers also may call (808) 969-6999 for questions regarding their electric account.
Hawai`i Electric Light photo from May 3.