HELCO warns ashfall could trigger power outages on Big Island

HELCO warns ashfall could trigger power outages on Big Island

HELCO: We’re ready to respond if ashfall cuts power.

Electric crews are standing by in case ash falling across the Ka’u District triggers power outages.

Hawaii Electric Light said a light dusting of ash and moisture on utility insulators could result in electrical short circuits.

“If this occurs, we are prepared to respond once it is safe for employees to work in the impacted area,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, spokeswoman for Hawaii Electric Light. “While we have equipment that can wash off ash from utility equipment, this is the first experience we will have with widespread volcanic ash.”

“A combination of a light dusting of ash and moisture on utility insulators could result in electrical short circuits, which could cause power interruptions,” warned Rhea Lee-Moku, spokesperson for Hawaii Electric Light. “If this occurs, we are prepared to respond once it is safe for employees to work in the impacted area. While we have equipment that can wash off ash from utility equipment, this is the first experience we will have with widespread volcanic ash.”

Depending on the density of the ash fallout and the area it covers, damage could be caused to utility equipment. Hawaii Electric Light recommends customers experiencing a power interruption to do the following:

Unplug electronic equipment and other electric appliances

Keep doors to your freezer and refrigerator closed as much as possible, food can stay cold in the refrigerator for up to six hours if the door is kept closed, and one to three days in the freezer-depending on how full it is.

Make prior arrangements with a hospital or emergency facility is you are dependent on life support.

Just 1 mm of wet ash could cause power outages, equipment failure.

With the shutdown of the Puna Geothermal Venture plant, Hawaii Electric Light still has sufficient power generation available to meet the island’s needs.

Earlier, the state Department of Transportation the thoroughfare would not open to local traffic as planned because new cracks had developed overnight.

However, the state was able to cover the new cracks and allow local traffic through about 1 p.m. with metal plates were place over the cracks from the rising ground of magma moving underneath.

The DOT said, however, it would continue monitoring the roadway and could shut it down if “hazardous conditions develop.”

Officials to kill active geothermal wells at PGV

After the latest fissures opened in the area near Lanipuna Gardens over the weekend and on Monday, officials are raising concerns about their proximity to the Puna Geothermal Venture site.

Officials are planning to kill three active wells at the site starting Tuesday. The process will involve pumping cold water into the wells.

They’re hoping to kill all the wells by the end of next week.

Thick plumes of ash are pouring from Halemaumau Crater, extending up to 12,000 feet above sea level and dropping ash as far as 18 miles downwind.

Winds are carrying the ash southwest of the crater to a number of towns, including Pahala, Wood Valley, Punaluu and Hawaiian Oceanview Estates.

The warnings come as authorities continue to closely watch Kilauea’s summit crater for explosive, steam-induced eruptions that could happen if lava hits the water table.

The plumes emitting from the crater aren’t from an eruption, however. Geologists say they’re being created by rockfalls in the crater and gas explosions.

But they’re still causing significant concern for residents.

Dramatic images show large plumes looming over the Volcano Golf Course. And in Pahala, residents are reporting heavy vog and significant ashfall.


Mary Greeley News
www.marygreeley.com

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http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38176893/itchy-eyes-sore-throats-and-headaches-kau-residents-react-to-recent-ashfall