Maui Electric: Community Meeting on Power Grid Upgrades Planned

Maui Electric Company will host a community meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium located at 95 Mahalani Street in Wailuku.

The meeting will take place to solicit input and share the company’s draft plan to modernize the power grids on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. The public is invited to an open house with company representatives at the Cameron Center at 5 p.m.  An overview of the plan will be presented, followed by a question and answer session from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The draft Grid Modernization Strategy filed with the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission in June describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric, and Hawai‘i Electric Light over the next six years. The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources like private rooftop solar, increase reliability and give customers new choices to control their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, such as customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or who seek usage data;
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption;
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;
  • Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

Public opinion gathered from this meeting and others held on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island will be included in the final plan to be submitted to the PUC at the end of August.

The draft plan and related documents are available online. Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9.

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