HECO to launch disputed power line project in ’08
Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to start the first phase of its East Oahu Transmission Project early next year, the company announced yesterday.
HECO recently got approval for the $64 million, two-phase project from the state Public Utilities Commission, the company announced yesterday.
The first phase could begin in the first quarter of 2008, pending construction permits, HECO spokesman Darren Pai said.
The project's main purpose is to "provide more alternative routes to deliver power to the area from downtown to Hawaii Kai and from Kahuku to Makapuu Point," according to a HECO news release.
"We believe this is needed because it's going to improve the reliability of service in East Oahu," Pai said. "It will improve our transmission capacity and provide alternate routes to deliver power."
The area includes Waikiki and accounts for 56 percent of the power demand on Oahu, Pai said.
The project will include installing and replacing underground 46-kilovolt lines and upgrading electrical equipment at nine substations in the downtown and Ala Moana area.
The McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board "is still against it," Chairman Ron Lockwood said yesterday when he learned that the project is on.
"There are still concerns about the electromagnetic field near Lunalilo School, right in front of the school" on Pumehana Street, he said.
Though HECO says the field is not a health concern, Lockwood insists that "studies are inconclusive" and the board wants to err on the side of caution for students at the elementary school.
The project is the end product of HECO's original attempt to build a 138-kilovolt line across Waahila Ridge to the back of Palolo Valley.
That widely opposed, $31 million proposal was shelved after the state Board of Land and Natural Resources denied HECO permission to cross conservation land.
The approved plan, which HECO submitted to the PUC in 2003, consists of:
» Phase One: Replacing existing overhead and underground 46-kilovolt lines in the Ala Moana and McCully area with new underground 46-kilovolt lines, and placing new underground 46-kilovolt lines in the Moiliili and Kapahulu areas.
» Phase Two: Installing underground 46-kilovolt lines, mostly along King Street between McCully and Cooke streets.
The estimated $64 million price tag will not be reflected in Oahu electric rates until after HECO completes the project and receives further approval from the PUC, Pai said.
Pai wouldn't estimate what the project cost will be to ratepayers, but HECO said in 2003 when the project was estimated at $59 million that it would add an estimated $1 a month to a residential bill.