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HECO awarded $5.3 million


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hawaii's $5.3 million share of federal Smart Grid stimulus funds will be used to upgrade computerized, automated controls in the urban Honolulu power distribution system.

The grant to Hawaiian Electric Co. “;will help speed up trouble-shooting during outages,”; said company spokesman Darren Pai. “;It will help us continue to enhance our grid.”; The grant will help fund a $13 million project, Pai said.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said, “;We've all experienced the chaos created by power outages, both big and small, and these funds will help modernize Oahu's aging electrical grid. These improvements should move us closer to a time when we aren't sitting in the dark very long when the grid goes down.”;

The promise of improvements comes at a time when island residents remember the Dec. 26 islandwide power failure set off when lightning caused four of the largest power lines to trip.

The Oct. 15, 2006, earthquake and aftershock off the Big Island also led to an islandwide blackout on Oahu.

Pai said the federal stimulus money was for improvements in transmission and distribution of power, not to be applied for power-generating plants.