Author: Simmone Shah

Why Hawaiian electric is facing a lawsuit after deadly wildfires in Maui

Source(s): Time Magazine Inc.


Hawaiian Electric did not deploy a public power shutoff plan—an aggressive safety strategy used in other states, such as California, Oregon and Nevada—to proactively shut down power to communities with high wind conditions and increased risks of fire. 

Intense wind gusts knocked down approximately 30 utility poles across the region on August 8, many onto trees and roads, and complicated evacuations, according to Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, who confirmed that some electrical lines were energized when they hit the ground.

According to the Washington Post, Hawaiian Electric was aware that a power shut-off was an useful strategy, but didn’t include the step in it in its fire mitigation plans. Hawaiian Electric spokesman Jim Kelly, told CNN that the utility company does not have a formal shut-off program in place, since the power is needed to provide water for firefighters.

“Pre-emptive, short-notice power shut-offs have to be coordinated with first-responders and in Lahaina, electricity powers the pumps that provide the water needed for firefighting,” Kelly told the New York Times.


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Hazards Wildfire
Country and region United States of America
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