Outage impact brief, but big for businesses

KHON - January 13, 2015
Nestor Garcia

Many businesses, including those in Kamehameha Shopping Center in Kalihi and Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, were affected by rolling blackouts Monday night.

At both centers, affected businesses say the outage lasted for no more than half an hour.

While power was expected to remain on Tuesday night, companies made adjustments, just in case.

At The Shack Hawaii Kai, customers enjoyed their food and drinks, but that wasn’t the case Monday night. With the blackout, the kitchen had to be closed for safety reasons.
The menu was limited to chips and cold sandwiches.

“No electricity, no service, no money,” said general manager Drew Reyes. “Luckily for us the power went out after the (College Football Playoff National Championship) game. Customers were still happy, but drinking in the dark.”

A key state senator says he has advice for Hawaiian Electric to avoid another round of rolling blackouts.

“The message is yes, we just need to be more aggressive and move toward the modernization plan of clean, renewable energy,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard (D-Kapolei, Makakilo, Waipahu), chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee.

At the state Public Utilities Commission, commissioners are also taking a look at issues pertaining to HECO’s reliability, as well as its Power Supply Improvement Plans. The utility is under pressure to move away from independent providers, like AES, who rely on fossil fuel to help power the grid.

In the meantime, The Shack will rely on the tried-and-true in case the power goes out again, like having a manual slide to process credit cards in place of computer-powered credit card readers.
As for lighting, “We have flashlights,” said Reyes, “and we also have gas torches outside that stay on to give us some light from the outside.”

For customers affected by the blackout who want to register a claim with Hawaiian Electric, you can call the utility at 543-4624.