HECO calls off emergency power conservation plea
HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC Co. power reserves returned to normal yesterday, ending the utility's urgent call for power conservation this week.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, customers were using about 1,200 megawatts during peak evening hours, said spokesman Jose Dizon. Because it had several of power generators down for scheduled or emergency repairs, HECO's margin of generating capacity over demand got as narrow as 30 megawatts, he said.
HECO likes to have about 180 megawatts more power generating capacity than its expected demand, Dizon said.
"Had we lost any other generators or had electric use spike upwards, we could have run into a situation where some customers would have been without power," Dizon said.
The margin of excess generating capacity had returned to the 180-megawatt range yesterday, Dizon said.
"With the improved situation, we are no longer asking for special conservation," Dizon said.
But he emphasized that using less electricity "just makes common sense. You can save money on your electric bill, help the environment and help out the whole island when reserves are slim."
The last time HECO called on customers to help it get through a time when power generation was almost equaled by consumption was a little more than a year ago. On Oct. 12, 2004, HECO customers used a record 1,327 megawatts of electricity, while its generating capacity was down because of scheduled and emergency repairs.
Since then the utility has taken some steps to reduce peak power demands in such a situation. It can turn off 5,000 residential water heaters during peak demand times, with the permission of the customers. And HECO has installed 9 megawatts of emergency generating capacity at its Ewa Nui and Iwilei substations.