Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, July 30, 1999

Heco says Kunia
poles necessary

Question: Why is Hawaiian Electric Co. putting up huge, unsightly poles in the Wal-Mart area in Kunia? They should have put the lines underground. It may have been more expensive, but it would have left our scenery more pleasant-looking. If this were Hawaii Kai or another more affluent area, the lines would go underground. I hope they keep these big poles out of the Ewa Plain area.

Answer: Heco said it needed the eight 100-foot-high steel poles to complete a 46-kilovolt subtransmission system to accommodate the growing residential and commercial power needs in the area.

Power to Royal Kunia and Village Park homes now is relayed by one temporary 46-kilovolt line. The second line will serve as a backup in case the existing line fails.

When the Kunia Makai project was presented to the Public Utilities Commission in the early 1990s, strong community opposition was expressed, Heco spokesman Fred Kobashikawa acknowledged.

Standard practice is to run the lines overhead because of costs. The $1.8 million Kunia Makai project, for example, would cost two to three times more if the lines were put underground, Kobashikawa said.

With PUC approval, the poles were to have been installed in January 1998. But the project was delayed until now because of continued community opposition, including an unsuccessful attempt in the Legislature to require major power lines near residential areas to run underground.

"We spent the last year in a concerted (but unsuccessful) effort to relocate the lines to other properties or to find other parties to cover cost of undergrounding," Kobashikawa said. By that, he meant trying to find any developer willing to pick up the cost of putting the lines underground, which would have been passed on to homebuyers in a specific development.

The alternative was to pass the expense on to all Heco customers, which was not considered acceptable.

Asked why the poles have to be so high, Kobashikawa said design standards require electrical wires to be a specific distance from each other, as well as a specific height above ground or, in this case, above adjacent street lights.

The poles, located between Royal Kunia Shopping Center and the H-1 Kunia Interchange, are made to withstand 100-mile-per-hour winds and are able to stand without the use of guy wires, he said.

To try to alleviate visual clutter, Heco is removing abandoned Oahu Sugar Co. utility poles that run parallel to Kunia Road on the opposite side; has painted the poles a gray-green color and will landscape the base of each pole; and it will shorten existing wooden poles, used for GTE telephone circuits, along Kunia Road.


To the young boy on a skateboard who ran into a "lady with a white cane" while walking near the Ilikai. As a result of his carelessness, she developed an infection in her leg and spent 10 days at Tripler Medical Center. In the future, please slow down and be more considerate! -- Jacqueline S. Lowe


To two men in a white pickup truck who helped my son when he was attacked by five guys at a Kamehameha Highway bus stop on June 13 and took him to St. Francis Hospital West's emergency room. Please call Kokua Line to let me know how I can get in touch to thank you personally. -- Grateful Mom

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin