Outage in downtown Honolulu closes multiple state offices

A power outage in downtown Honolulu closed multiple state offices and knocked out many traffic signals in the area Thursday morning.

Company officials said in a news release that the outage, which began at about 10 a.m., affected about 900 customers throughout the downtown area, including Chinatown, the State Capitol, the U.S. post office, state courts and the federal building. Traffic signals throughout the area were without power and police officers directed traffic at many intersections.


“The incident resulted from a sequence of events that started at approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, when an outage affected the area between Bishop and Mililani streets downtown,” officials said in a release. “That outage damaged an underground cable that feeds power into the downtown area.

“Subsequently, shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, equipment at the Iwilei substation experienced an overload of power. This caused the broader outage.”

The outage affected about “900 customer accounts, but many of those are master-metered office buildings and condominiums that have hundreds of tenants,” they said.

Hawaiian Electric said repair crews were making progress as of 4 p.m. Thursday, and anticipated restoring power to the downtown Honolulu area by or after press time.

“We apologize for the disruption caused by this outage and we know this is especially challenging for businesses and government offices,” said Hawaiian Electric spokesperson Darren Pai in a news release. “Our crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power and get everyone back up by early evening.”

Most of the downtown Honolulu area is served by a network of underground cables that run below the streets, according to the company. This network was originally built in the 1960s and 1970s, Hawaiian Electric said, and while sections have been updated and maintained over the decades, much of the original cable remains in service.

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