A widespread power outage that started about 2:45 a.m. Tuesday forced the closure of 14 public schools on Maui.

About 65,000 Hawaiian Electric Co. customers were affected by the outage that the utility said was triggered by a high-voltage short circuit at a power substation in Maalaea. By 10:45 a.m., power had been restored to all but about 100 customers in Central Maui, Upcountry and Haiku. Power was fully restored to all customers about 2 p.m.

The utility is still investigating the cause of the “highly unusual” short circuit that triggered the blackout, according to a press release. The last power outage to affect such a large number of Maui residents occurred after a lightning storm in 2017, according to HECO.

During the outage, Maui police officers directed traffic at intersections where traffic lights are not working.

The Maui County Department of Water Supply, which relies on electrical pumps, asked customers to conserve water.

The Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing was unable to provide service to customers and the Lahaina satellite office is closed today because of power-related problems and a staffing shortage. The Pukalani office also shut its doors.

Schools forced to close for the day include King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate, Lahainaluna High, Upcountry Maui, Haiku Elementary, Iao Intermediate, Pukalani Elementary, Kula Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, Makawao Elementary, King Kekaulike High, Central Maui, Pomaikai Elementary, Paia Elementary and Wailuku Elementary.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism.

During this election season, we hope that our coverage provides you with the information to make informed decisions on issues that you care deeply about.

Whether it’s affordable housing, education or the environment, these issues depend on your vote, and our ability to report on them depends on your support.

Every contribution, however big or small, allows us to continue keeping readers informed through election day and beyond. So, if you found value in our coverage, please take the next step by making a contribution to Civil Beat today.

About the Author