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CITY CREWS RESPOND TO ISLAND WIDE POWER OUTAGE

City crews were kept busy last night and this morning responding to an island wide power outage.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the City’s Department Emergency Coordinators staffed the Emergency Operations Center shortly after the first outage was reported at about 6:30 p.m. 

“Whenever there’s a need, our city’s first responders rise to the challenge,” Mayor Hannemann said.  “Tonight was no different.  Our police officers, firefighters and paramedics helped to keep Honolulu safe and secure throughout the darkness.” 

Mayor Hannemann and members of his staff and city departments were briefed on the power outage throughout the evening and early morning by Hawaiian Electric Company officials, who now say portions of both the Kahe and Waiau power plants are up and operating and that power is slowly being restored to island residents.

Honolulu Police officers staffed key intersections throughout the island that had lost their traffic signals to the power outage.  Street lights were also out islandwide.  HPD also kept over certain personnel and called others in to begin their shift early. 

Honolulu firefighters assisted in getting people out of elevators that had lost power and were stuck.  Between 6:30 and 9:45 pm, HFD received 115 calls for assistance, 42 of which were for people stranded in elevators. 

The Department of Transportation kept city buses and HandiVans rolling throughout the night.  DTS crews are preparing to reset the city and state’s 800 traffic signals once power is restored.  DTS has contacted a private company to be on stand-by to assist with the restoration effort if needed.

The city’s wastewater system performed without issue.  Pump stations were powered by back-up generators.  The Board of Water Supply also had generators available to power up select pumps.  BWS is asking residents to conserve water, even for a time after power is fully restored.  There was no explosion at the city’s HPOWER plant as had been erroneously reported. 

The Department of Facility Maintenance provided emergency fuel to the city’s ambulance fleet, as well as to Honolulu Police Department and Honolulu Fire Department vehicles. 

“I want to thank the Department of Emergency Management for coordinating our efforts through the Emergency Operations Center,” said Mayor Hannemann, “and for the volunteer services of the 38 DEM reservists who helped with traffic control and other measures.    Thanks to the hard work of all our public safety city employees and representatives of the private sector, we’ve been able to survive the power outage thus far without serious harm or injury to our residents.”   

Mayor Hannemann also checked throughout the evening on the personal safety of President-elect Barack Obama, who’s vacationing on Oahu’s windward side.  The mayor inquired through the Honolulu Police Department assigned to the president-elect whether he needed any assistance or supplies such as portable generators.  Mr. Obama graciously declined the offer, saying he and his family were safe and secure and were going to bed.  Mayor Hannemann recommended that Oahu residents follow the President-elect’s lead and also turn in for the evening.   

Contact:

John M. Cummings III

Public Information Officer

(808) 723-8957  Office

Monday, December 29, 2008

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