The 2018 Central Pacific hurricane season begins today and could bring up to six tropical cyclones.
Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric and Hawaiʻi Electric Light urge customers, both residential and commercial, to ready themselves and their properties for potential storms.
Officials say the company works year-round to strengthen our island grids so that they are better able to withstand powerful storms.
The companies have spent more than $1.5 billion since 2011 to upgrade and reinforce poles, lines and equipment. Last year alone, more than $18 million was spent on clearing trees and vegetation from around power lines and equipment across all three utilities, resulting in fewer and briefer outages during storms.
To help customers prepare for hurricane season, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have updated their Handbook for Emergency Preparedness. The updated version, along with a keiki-friendly emergency preparedness booklet featuring Maka the Super Safety Hero, is available at www.mauielectric.com/prepare.
Printed copies of the Handbook for Emergency Preparedness will be available for pickup at public libraries across Maui County while supplies last.
Customers should develop their own plans and consider these following tips:
• Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. Be prepared to monitor storm-related communications issued over emergency broadcast radio stations.
• Store enough water, non-perishable food, medicine, and personal hygiene supplies for your family members and pets to last at least 14 days.
• Routinely use high-quality surge protectors to help protect household appliances that incorporate electronics, computer equipment, home entertainment systems, and motors.
• Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electric appliances and equipment during a storm or a power outage. When power comes back and is stable, gradually plug in the equipment one at a time.
• If your power goes out during a storm, use flashlights or chemical light sticks instead of candles or kerosene lamps as open flames may create a fire hazard.
• Shut off your electricity at the main breaker or switch if you need to evacuate.
• Consider having a backup generator if you are dependent on an electrically powered life support system. Or, make plans to go to an alternate location where electricity will be available. Be prepared to take your medical equipment and medications with you.
• If your business or residence is equipped with a backup generator, learn how to properly operate the device to avoid causing damage or injury.
• Prepare a list of emergency contacts that includes phone numbers for insurance agents, vendors, physicians or any other important individuals.
• If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and dangerous. Stay away from downed power lines – at least 30 feet or more (about the length of a school bus).
• For power outage updates, sign up for text/email updates via www.mauielectric.com and follow the company on Twitter @mauielectric with the hashtags #MauiOutage, #LanaiOutage, #MolokaiOutage.