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Iselle: Restoring power and delayed election (Aug. 8)

Trees toppled by Tropical Storm Iselle crashed onto utility lines and snapped poles in Hawaiian Paradise Park early Friday morning, August 8, 2014. Here trees alongside Makuu Drive crashed down. Photo by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Trees toppled by Tropical Storm Iselle crashed onto utility lines and snapped poles in Hawaiian Paradise Park early Friday morning, August 8, 2014. Here trees alongside Makuu Drive crashed down. Photo by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawai 24/7 Editor

UPDATE 1 A.M. SATURDAY, AUG. 9

Hawaii Electric Light crews have been working to safely restore power to customers who have lost electricity as a result of Tropical Storm Iselle.

Crews brought back power to 3,400 customers over the last few hours by restoring the south transmission line tie as well as distribution circuits between Keaau to Pahala.

At this time, an estimated 9,200 customers remain out of power in Hawaiian Paradise Park, Orchidland Estates, Leilani Estates, Nanawale, Kapoho, Kalapana, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, and Waipunahina.

Crews are still working to restore power in the Waipunahina area tonight.

Customers experiencing an outage in a location that is not listed should call 969-6666 to report the outage. We’re advising customers who are currently out of power to prepare for extended outages, which could last through the weekend and in some cases, particularly the lower Puna area, much longer.

We sincerely appreciate our customers’ understanding and patience as our crews continue to work to restore power as quickly as is safely possible.

Hawaii Electric Light reminds customers to stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized, or “live,” and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help, but do not approach the injured person.

UPDATE 9 P.M. FRIDAY, AUG. 8

While Hurricane Iselle did not cause any deaths or majors injuries, the storm system did wreck havoc across the southern end of the Big Island.

Hawaii Electric Light crews were continuing Friday night to work to safely restore power to customers who have lost electricity as a result of the storm.

Crews are coping with difficulties accessing remotely located and extensively damaged transmission lines. The utility is advising customers who are currently out of power to prepare for the extended outages, which could last through the weekend and in some cases, particularly the lower Puna area, much longer.

“We’re working into the night to continue restoring customers, but given the potential for some to be out of power for a very long time, we wanted to give folks as much time as possible to plan. We know what a hardship it is for our customers to be out of power for so long. We sincerely apologize and want to assure them we are doing everything we can to restore service as quickly as is safely possible,” said Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light. “In addition to our crews who have been working around the clock, we’re bringing in additional crews from Oahu and possibly Maui to mobilize the most resources possible.

“Iselle has dealt a major blow our island. There’s extensive damage, particularly to several transmission lines in remote areas that are difficult for repair crews to access. On one line alone, there are 16 broken poles. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s continued understanding,” he said.

At the height of the storm, about 25,000 – or 30 percent – of all Hawaii Island customers lost power.

As of Friday evening, an estimated 15,000 customers remain without power in the following areas: Most of the Puna area, Kalopa-Paauilo, Kulani and surrounding areas, Pahala and surrounding areas

“One of our top priorities today has been to restore part of the backbone of our transmission system. As part of that work, we were able to restore the transmission line tie to Hamakua Energy Partners. This was critical to ensuring we have enough power generation. As a result, we no longer need to ask customers to conserve power. We greatly appreciate the help of everyone who responded to the call to conserve,” said Ignacio.

Earlier Friday, the National Weather Service cancelled the Tropical Storm Warning for the Big Island. Storm conditions have subsided and weather conditions are improving, although authorities and residents still are watching Hurricane Julio as that storm dances off the eastern shores of the islands.

Iselle’s winds – which gusted in excess of 70 mph across the island – caused myriad fallen trees and downed power lines in communities from Puna to Hamakua.

Authorities and residents now face extensive power outages and hazardous road conditions as they begin cleaning up.

By sunset Friday, the following highways remain closed due to fallen trees, flooding, and debris: Highway 11 or the Volcano Highway, in the areas of the 55 and 63 mile markers; and Highway 132 or the Pahoa Kapoho Road near the Nanawale Estates Subdivision.

In addition, many of the subdivisions in the lower Puna area including Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Kapoho, Opihikao, Pohoiki, and Kalapana have sustained extensive tree toppling as a result of the high winds and presenting with limited access.

Department of Public Works crews and HELCO crews are working to clear roadways and to restore power to affected areas. It is unknown when all power will be restored and all roadways will be reopened.

Residents are advised to drive with caution as crews are working on and along many roadways.

Storm Postpones Election for Two Big Island Polling Places

A polling site at Hawaiian Paradise Park's community center on primary election day Saturday (Aug 11). Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

A polling site at Hawaiian Paradise Park’s community center on primary election day Saturday (Aug 11, 2012). Hawaii 24/7 File Photo

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago, in consultation with the State Attorney General, Hawaii County Civil Defense and the Office of the County Clerk, has announced the postponement of the Primary Election at two polling places in Puna.

Roads leading to Hawaii Paradise Community Center (04-01) and Keoneopoko Elementary School (04-02) polling places are closed.

“According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, the damage to roadways have left some communities in Puna isolated,” Nago said.

Nago noted that voting in the rescheduled election will be done by absentee ballot. He will be working closely with the Office of the County Clerk to develop a timeline for when ballots will be provided to voters in the affected polling places.

However, votes cast by absentee ballot for these polling places will be counted and included with tomorrow’s election results, in accordance with state law.

With the exception of these two polling places, the primary election will move forward. Polls are open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

The two polling places serve approximately 7,900 voters and nearly 1,500 completed early walk-in or mail-in ballots. More than 6,000 voters will receive absentee ballots in the mail and have several weeks to turn them in.

Election Help Needed

Hawaii County Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto said because of the storm, an unprecedented number of election workers have called to cancel.

The county desperately need volunteers, especially at Kona Vistas, at Hookena School, through South Kona, Ka‘u, Puna, and many other places on the island.

Anybody who can volunteer to help with Saturday’s election, may call 933-1591, or go to a polling place early Saturday to see if they need help.

Iselle’s Top Wind Speeds

Iselle peaked Aug. 4 as a Category 4 hurricane with estimated maximum winds of 140 mph, according to various national weather organizations.

By maximum wind speed, Iselle is the third-strongest tropical cyclone of 2014 in the Eastern Pacific basin, behind Amanda and Cristina.

However, Iselle has now surpassed both of those to attain the highest accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index so far this season. The ACE index combines maximum wind speeds with the duration of the storm to estimate the total wind energy generated during a cyclone’s lifetime.

At about 2:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8, Iselle officially became the first tropical storm to make landfall on the Big Island since 1958, and the first named storm to ever make landfall there, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.

It’s also the strongest tropical storm on record to make landfall on the island, packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph when it came ashore about five miles east of Pahala.

The list below is the maximum wind gusts recorded across the state over the 24 hour period ending at 8 a.m. Aug. 8.

The wind gusts are reported in miles per hour. These preliminary values are from provisional reports from automated gages that have not been quality controlled. Wind speeds are in miles per hour.

Hawaii

Mauna Kea 91
Pali 2 66
Kealakomo 64
Kawaihae 59
Hilo Harbor 56
Kamuela airport 55
Hilo Airport 54
Kawaihae nos 54
Kapapala raws 52
Mauna Loa slope obs 51
Upolu airport 51
PTA Keamuku 50
Kona Airport 45
PTA kipuka alala 45
Waikoloa 45
Kohala ranch 44
PTA range 17 44
Bradshaw aaf 43
Keaumo 41
Puu Waawaa 40
PTA west 38
Kaupulehu 37
Kahuku ranch 35
South point 33
Waiakea exp stn 30

Maui

Kula 1 61
Kahului airport 55
Kaupo gap 55
Kahului nos 46
Kapalua-w. Maui ap 40

Lanai

Lanai 1 54
Lanai ap 62
Kahoolawe
Kealialalo 67
Kaneloa 62
Kahoolawe 60
Konokanaia 56

Molokai

Molokai 1 57
Makapulapai 45
Molokai Airport 44
Puu Alii 31

Oahu

Oahu forest nwr 72
Waianae Valley 43
Honolulu airport 41
Bellows AFS 37
Kahuku training area 35
Mokuoloe is. 35
Honolulu Harbor 34

Kauai

Lihue Airport 33
Port Allen ap 30

Iselle is the 10th named tropical cyclone in the Eastern Pacific this hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

—-

ALOHA SPIRIT CARRIES HAWAII THROUGH RECENT EMERGENCY

Following the National Weather Service’s cancelation of tropical storm warnings for all four counties, Gov. Neil Abercrombie recognized the outstanding work exhibited by Hawaii’s emergency management personal across the state, its partners, and the people and visitors of Hawaii.

The Governor stated:

“At the beginning of this emergency, I said that the spirit of aloha is something we need to carry through the night, and the people of Hawaii answered that call.

“Now that we have received the ‘all clear’ from each of the counties, I’d like to offer a warm mahalo for everyone’s cooperation. At all levels of government, together with the news media and the public, we demonstrated Hawaii is prepared.

“I commend the efforts of our newly named Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, formerly State Civil Defense; the mayors and the counties; our federal partners including the National Weather Service and FEMA; and the hospitality industry.

“Although some areas across our state have been impacted by the severe weather, our unified collaboration has served to protect the lives and well-being of our neighbors and guests.

“Initial flyover assessments are being conducted by the Hawaii National Guard, and we are ready to respond to county damage assessments in the days to come.

“We must also remain vigilant with Hurricane Julio entering our area and with more than three months left in this hurricane season.”

HAWAII ELECTRIC LIGHT ASKS CUSTOMERS TO CONSERVE ENERGY

Hawaii Electric Light Company asks all its customers to conserve energy until the utility is back at full strength..

“During the storm many trees fell and knocked down power lines and poles. Critical transmission lines on the East side of the island are out of service and we are unable to take generation from Hamakua Energy Partners and Puna Geothermal Venture. This has created a generation shortage,” said company spokesperson Rhea Lee. “Crews are working to repair damage to the transmission lines but the damage is extensive in several areas. In particular, there is extensive damage to lines in the lower Puna area and restoration could take some time. We ask our customers to help by conserving their use of electricity until we can complete repairs and restore our transmission system to its normal operating condition. We are coordinating with emergency response agencies and will be getting additional assistance from Oahu and Maui as well. We sincerely appreciate our customers’ understanding and patience.”

Power remains out in several areas of Hawaii Island. An estimated 17,200 customers are out of power.

We are aware of current outages in the areas of:

 Lower Puna including Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Hawaiian Shores, and Kapoho;
 Mountain View to Namakani Paio Park;
 Portions of the Hamakua Coast including Waipunahina, Puueo Paku to Kaupakuea
Homestead Road, Honomu, Hakalau, Papaaloa, Laupahoehoe, Ookala, lower Honokaa, Haina, Kukuihaele, Mauna Kea Ranch, Pohakea Mauka Road, Pohakealani Road, Paauilo Mauka, and Kaapahu Road;
 Pahala Town and surrounding area including Huapala Street, Hau Street, Ilima Street, and parts of Hinano and Maile Streets;
 Wood Valley;
 Kapapala Ranch; and
 Parts of Kulani area

Customers in these areas DO NOT need to call us to report the outage. Call volumes are high and we apologize if customers have difficulty getting through. If a customer is experiencing an outage in another location that is not listed, please report the outage by calling 969-6666.
Crews are in the field assessing damage and working to restore power safely. The safety of all customers and our employees remains our first priority.

Hawaii Electric Light urges customers to consider the following safety measures:

 Stay away from downed power lines. Assume they are energized, or “live,” and dangerous. If you see someone injured after touching a downed power line, call 9-1-1 for help, but do not approach the injured person.

 When using a portable generator, carefully read and follow instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. Do not plug the generator into your household electrical outlets. Never use a generator inside a home, basement, or garage. Only use the generator outside, away from your home’s windows, doors, and vents.

 If you become trapped in an elevator during a power outage, relax and stay calm until help arrives. Use elevator emergency communication systems to report where you are and who is with you. Do not try to force open elevator doors. Never try to exit a stalled elevator car. Always wait for trained and qualified emergency personnel.

Our free “Information Handbook for Emergency Preparedness” includes these tips and more. Visit www.hawaiielectriclight.com and click the “Safety and Emergency” tab. The handbook has been translated into multiple languages, including Cantonese, Ilocano, Korean, and Vietnamese. It includes key numbers to have on hand, checklists for emergency supplies (such as a home survival kit and first aid kit), electrical safety information, power outage preparedness and recovery information, and household and food safety tips. It also provides references and links to related resources, such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and civil defense agencies.

—–

With ongoing HELCO power transmission challenges, the DWS reports low water tank levels in the Puna and Hamakua Districts including Kaiwiki.

Until further notice, water supply customers located in Puna and Hamakua District are advised to restrict water use to essential needs only.

Reports of low water tank levels in Laupahoehoe water system.

Until further notice, customers located in Papaaloa, Laupahoehoe, and Waipunalei are advised to restrict water use to essential use only.

Water restriction means a 25% reduction in daily use.

This is a Department of Water Supply main break emergency repair notice for 9:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 8.

The Department of Water supply reports a broken water main along Pohakea Mauka Road affecting customers from Hoo Kahua Road to Paauilo Mauka Road. Customers in this area may experience little to no water pressure.

At this time, work crews are assessing access to the site and investigating the extent of damage. The repair is estimated to be complete by this evening.

If you need additional information or have emergency needs, call 961-8790.

OCP Urges Consumers to Report Potential Price Gouging

Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) Executive Director Bruce Kim has informed the public that there is a price cap in effect for commodities in conjunction with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s disaster declaration.

The statewide emergency has triggered statutory price caps on selling prices at pre-emergency levels for all commodities, including food, water, ice, gasoline, cooking fuel, batteries, and generators.

Any price increase of these and other commodities since severe weather warnings began through at least Aug. 16, 2014, is a violation of state law and merchants found in violation may be subject to severe fines and penalties.

“The Office of Consumer Protection will investigate complaints and prosecute any offenders to the fullest extent of the law,” Kim said. “It is also important for consumers to follow through with providing the information.”

If merchants have unknowingly raised prices during this period, they may avoid a violation by:

· rolling back prices to the appropriate level, and

· putting a restitution program in place to return any excessive payments resulting from the illegal price increases to consumers.

If consumers believe they paid increased prices for merchandise, they are advised to:

· keep their receipts and/or other records of the sale, and report any instances of price gouging by emailing ocp@dcca.hawaii.gov

o Include

1) Name of business

2) Location of business – island, area

3) What was being purchased, any additional info on the item

4) Name and contact number of caller if they are willing

· during normal work hours consumers can call the DCCA’s Consumer Resource Center (CRC) between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri by calling 587-4272 or 587-3295 from Oahu, or from the Neighbor Islands call the following numbers followed by 7-4272 and the # sign:

Kauai
274-3141
Maui
984-2400
Hawaii
974-4000
Lanai & Molokai
1-800-468-4644 (toll free)

An electronic copy of OCP’s complaint is available on its website at cca.hawaii.gov/ocp.

During regular business hours, consumers may call 808-587-4272 at the Consumer Resource Center to obtain a complaint form and file a formal complaint.

DTRIC INSURANCE TO TRAVEL TO HAWAII ISLAND STARTING MONDAY

In response to expected customer needs in the wake of Iselle and Julio, DTRIC Insurance employees will set up community response centers on Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai starting Monday, Aug. 11. These centers will help guide DTRIC customers as they file claims and begin the general recovery process.

Response centers will be set-up at the following locations starting Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., pending unexpected severe weather, deteriorating safety conditions or unforeseen travel restrictions as of this writing:

HAWAII ISLAND
Offices of Occidental Underwriters
Hilo Shopping Center
1221 Kilauea Avenue, Suite 70
Hilo

Offices of Finance Insurance, Ltd
Lanihau Professional Center
75-5591 Palani Drive, Suite 2004
Kailua-Kona

MAUI
Offices of Noguchi & Associates
Dairy Center
360 Papa Place, Suite 105
Kahului

KAUAI
Offices of Mokihana Insurance
4393 Kukui Grove Street
Lihue

For the most up-to-date information on the teams at our Neighbor Island response centers, please call DTRIC toll-free, 24 hours a day, at (888) 443-8742.

Claims may also be reported to DTRIC through any of the following channels:

· Phone: (888) 443-8742 or (808) 951-1770; select option 2 (available 24 hours a day)
· Fax: (808) 951-1868
· Email: claims@DTRIC.com
· Online: www.DTRIC.com/claims
· In-person on Oahu: 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1520

To begin the recovery process, customers should be prepared to provide the following information to report a claim for a home:

· Name of insured
· Contact number
· Address of insured
· Policy number
· Date and time of loss
· Location of loss
· Description of loss and damage

To report an automobile claim, the following information is required:

· Insured vehicle
· Description of incident and damage
· Date and time of loss

DTRIC Insurance Group, which includes DTRIC Insurance Company, Limited and its reinsured affiliate, DTRIC Insurance Underwriters, Limited, is rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company, one of the world’s most authoritative insurance rating sources.

DTRIC is committed to providing its policyholders and agents with innovative, value-added products at competitive prices while maintaining service with the aloha spirit. The company also provides products and services to policyholders using multiple independent agent channels throughout the state of Hawaii.

For more information, visit www.DTRIC.com

Iselle Claimants with Zephyr Insurance Policies

Zephyr Insurance policyholders on the Big Island who have suffered hurricane damage to covered properties should contact their insurance agents to submit claims. Due to the large number of potential claimants, it is imperative that you submit the losses by email or fax the claim information rather than tie up phone lines.

If you are unable to reach your insurance agent, please email your loss information to our claim reporting center at Crawford & Company, Inc. (Crawford):

1) Email
2) Toll-free Facsimile
3) Toll-free Telephone
Zephyr@us.crawco.com
(888) 273-7503 (800) 768-6002

After incurring a loss from a hurricane, please initiate the following:

1. Insure the safety of your family.

2. Report your loss. Report your damage to your insurance agent (phone number is normally on your Policy Declarations) or contact Zephyr’s claim call center at Crawford using one of the above methods. You may use a copy of your policy declarations as an initial claims notification with other essential information that should include: 1) a phone number in which you can be reached; 2) a description of the loss (i.e. roof damage, total loss, etc.).

3. Take steps to protect property. Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting. Use only reputable contractors. Keep all receipts from materials and services.

4. Prepare for the Adjusters visit. Make a list of damaged items. If possible, take photographs of the damage, and put together a set of records (old receipts, bills and photographs). Don’t throw out any property, as the adjuster will want to see them.

Building damage: Make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster when he/she arrives. Get written bids from reliable, licensed contractors on the repair work to help facilitate the claim process. Bids should include details of the materials to be used and prices on a line- by-line basis.

Once your claim is filed with our claim reporting service at Crawford, you should be contacted by a claims adjuster within 48 hours.

If you have a flood loss (rather than wind) or an auto claim please contact your insurance agent. These types of losses are not covered under your Zephyr policy.

If you are unable to locate your Zephyr policy information and are unsure of your insurance agency contact, call 800-768-6002.

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