Work to rebuild electric system in Maui continues after 2023 wildfires

Published on January 29, 2024 by Chris Galford

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Months after devastating wildfires, restoration efforts for the electric system in Maui’s Lahaina continues, as Hawaiian Electric works to install transmission and distribution lines, interim steel poles and electrical equipment, in absence of a finalized long-term plan.

Those community-driven plans are still in development. Hawaiian Electric noted that it would work with federal, state and county officials on those plans for Lahaina, but stressed the potential for underground electric lines. The interim poles and electrical equipment restorations will help with reliability in the meantime and provide back-up power routes to Lahaina and other parts of west Maui.

That work will include about 70 new steel poles rated for current regulated utility safety standards. Those will replace the original wood poles damaged during the mix of wind and fire that swept the area in August 2023. Repairs are expected to finish sometime this year, but in the meantime, the company warned that companies in west Maui may experience extended outages as power cannot currently be rerouted from other circuits. Less than 10 customers are still without power in Lahaina.

Work also recently finished on building underground electrical infrastructure to support the installation of a substation transformer at the Lahainaluna Substation mauka. It will support areas formerly backed by the Lahaina substation, which was destroyed during the wildfires.