HELCO reports widespread power interruptions

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Electric Light Co. said that thousands of customers experienced a power interruption Sunday morning in portions of Hilo, Keaau, Puna, Honokaa, Kona, South Point, Waikoloa and Waimea.

An estimated 40,800 customers experienced a power interruption at 5:47 a.m. when a generating unit at independent power producer Hamakua Energy Partners tripped offline unexpectedly followed by a combustion-turbine unit trip at HELCO’s Keahole Power Plant while it was responding to the sudden load changes.

Automated load-shedding, which is necessary to protect the island’s power grid, operated properly. Alternate generation was started and service to most customers was restored within minutes. HELCO said power was restored to the remained customers by 6:50 a.m.

The cause of all unit trips is under investigation, HELCO said.