Power safeguards sought
for hospitals and military

Star-Bulletin staff

Hawaiian Electric Co. says it is looking into ways to keep the power on at hospitals and military installations during controlled outages like the one that cut power to 60,000 Oahu customers in December.

A problem at one of its power suppliers started a chain of events on HECO's power grid that caused the failure of three generators on Dec. 19, the company told the state Public Utilities Commission. Over several hours that afternoon, the company responded with a planned series of outages to reduce power demand and prevent an overload of the power system.

Among the affected customers were Tripler and Kaiser hospitals and the military headquarters at Camp Smith.

In its investigation report on the power failure, HECO said safeguards worked to prevent an islandwide blackout and major damage to power plants.

The company is looking into changing its procedures so that hospitals and military installations will be among the last customers whose power is cut in such an emergency, HECO said in the report filed Friday.

HECO also said it is looking into purchasing new computer systems and software that may help it prevent and better respond to power failures.

Company spokesman Fred Kobashikawa said the utility is continuing to investigate what happened and how to prevent failures.

He said 39 customers have filed requests for compensation for losses suffered because of the outages.

The PUC can schedule a hearing on the outages, but so far has not, Kobashikawa said.

"We hope we've answered all the questions regarding this incident," he said. "However, we're ready to answer any additional questions."

E-mail to City Desk


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