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Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) produces and delivers electricity using a vast network of generators, transformers, switches, and thousands of miles of power lines. Although this system is very complex, HECO’s objective is to deliver electricity where and when it is needed more than 99.95 percent of the time. At 99.95 percent, electricity would be available for all of the year except for 4.4 hours. This measure of service quality is called reliability.
Since a continuous supply of electricity is what most customers demand, HECO has processes in place that maintain service reliability. Regular trimming of trees around overhead power lines, infrared scanning to pinpoint trouble spots, routine preventative maintenance of equipment, and system upgrades are just a few of the steps that HECO takes to provide reliable service.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances beyond HECO’s control that can and will interrupt electric service. Events like severe weather, accidents involving electric lines, unforeseen equipment failure, and vandalism may cause short circuits or faults that lead to a power outage. Power outages typically occur when HECO’s protective equipment detects a fault and attempts to isolate the problem area by automatically disconnecting lines. Depending on the severity of the fault, the faulted line is usually not reconnected until HECO’s trouble personnel can visually inspect the system for the cause of the fault. This visual inspection is to ensure that the public and HECO personnel are safe from any electrical hazards. Once the trouble spot has been located, HECO’s trouble personnel reconnect the healthy sections of the line to restore power to as many customers as possible. As soon as HECO’s line crew can repair the fault, customers without power will be reconnected. HECO realizes that outages are inconvenient for our customers but electrical safety for both the public and HECO personnel is always our first priority.