“Did Hilo lose electricity or just my street?”
posed by Annette. Killua asked this question shortly after 1 a.m. on Friday, May 27, on Facebook.
“I was wondering the same thing,” Keola K. Mahi wrote shortly after 2:30 a.m. in response to Kailiawa’s post.
Kiliwa replied at 3:17 AM: “Aya… I’m looking for Coco and all the darkness.”
They weren’t the only ones to ask what happened when an early morning blackout on Friday left much of the Hilo area in the dark for several hours.
“Curious to know why the power is out here in Lower Kaumana!?! Having lived here for the past six years, I have never had any electricity,” Kealia BC Prince said at 7:10 a.m. Friday Facebook.
“I was wondering the same thing. I didn’t find any information about the power outage last night. It lasted a long time too!” Savannah Noah replied at 8:38 a.m. Friday to Prince’s mail.
“Fortunately I’m running on my alarm,” Prince said in response to a question from Big Island Now in response to her original post, so it didn’t affect her work schedule.
“I scared my kids though! I woke up with the three little ones in my room! ‘ said the prince.
Twitter user Alyssa Marie, who owns @satoaly, even asked Hawaii Electric Friday morning via the social media platform what happened.
“HIElectricLight What caused the power outage around 1:30 AM in Hilo this morning?” She tweeted at 6:19 am on Friday.
“Cause under investigation,” a response from the Hawaiian Electric – Hawaii’i Island Twitter account at 8:23 a.m. said, “Mahalo for your patience.”
According to Kristin Okinaka, senior communications consultant for Hawaiian Electric, the blackout began at 12:49 a.m. Friday. The outage affected 2,709 power customers in the Komohana Avenue public area between Buinako Avenue and Ioannino Street, she told Big Island Now in an email Friday afternoon.
The outage lasted just over three hours, with power restored to all affected customers by 3:54 a.m. Friday. A rat stuck in the equipment was to blame, Okinaka said.
She added that the mouse was stuck in a set of electrical switches that contain electrical circuit breakers that cut the current when a malfunction or problem occurs. When the mice came into contact with the active parts, it caused other protective devices to be triggered to reduce damage.
“Once the crews identified the cause, the rat was removed and the affected customers moved to alternative equipment to restore service,” Okinaka said.
Responding to a response from Big Island Now on her Facebook post, Kailiawa said that the Hawaiian Electric’s troubleshooting line was very busy when she first called to inquire about the power outage. I stayed on the phone for 10 minutes before ending the call.
She wrote: “I called again around 2:45 am and a very nice guy answered and said it would be fixed in an hour.” “The lights came back on at 3:30 in the morning.”
Okinaka said situations such as what led to Friday’s early morning blackouts occur infrequently, and the Hawaiian Electric Company is investigating the incident.
“We are investigating how the rat was able to gain access to the equipment and how to prevent this from happening again,” she said.
Kiliwa also said the blackout was having an effect on her nighttime routine. She and her husband, who uses a CPAP machine, decided to stay awake during the break.
“I woke up my husband, because he was already asleep and his device was on,” she said in response to Big Island Now on her Facebook post. “We made a decision to stay awake, as at the time I didn’t call (Hawaiian Electric) about how long the blackout would be. It didn’t make sense to set up the generator, and make all the connections to the machines so that the electricity would come back in less than three hours.”
Customers can visit the Hawaiian Electric website for information about interruptions. People on Twitter can also follow @HIElectricLight for information on outages or view the facilities’ #BigIslandOutage for updates.
To report a power outage on the Big Island, call 808-969-6666.
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