Where’s checklist for planned power outage?

Where’s checklist for planned power outage?

Question : During a (Public Safety Power Shutoff ) event, if we do lose power, should we shut off power at our electrical breaker box to avoid a surge when power is restored ? I do have the HECO app on my phone that should notify me when power is restored.

Answer : That is not what Hawaiian Electric recommends. “We advise customers to turn off and unplug any unnecessary appliances and sensitive electronics. This will prevent damage to the equipment from any surges that occur when power is restored, ” Darren Pai, a Hawaiian Electric spokesperson, said in an email.

As reality sinks in that Hawaiian Electric plans to proactively turn off power during very dry, windy weather in areas prone to wildfires, including Waianae, Makaha, Nanakuli, Maili and Kaena Point on Oahu, Kokua Line is receiving more questions asking exactly how residents in those areas should react to a Public Safety Power Shutoff, as well as broader questions about how prolonged outages may affect other utilities and essential infrastructure and services on Oahu.

Pai declined to speculate about hypothetical situations that readers posed, but did say that Hawaiian Electric is “working with emergency responders, government agencies and providers of essential services to coordinate preparations for a PSPS. This collaboration is intended to provide these organizations with information they need to develop their own plans and make any necessary preparations to adjust their operations during a PSPS activation.”

As for what residential customers should do before, during and after a PSPS event, Hawaiian Electric has posted detailed instructions on its website, key points of which we’ll summarize here. HECO says it will try to give advance notice of a PSPS, that might not be possible if weather conditions deteriorate rapidly. HECO says :

Before PSPS :—Turn off and unplug all sensitive equipment (e.g., computers, TVs, etc.).—Have contingency plans for any electrically powered medical equipment and for medication that needs to be refrigerated.—Plan ahead for meals without a stove or microwave.—Customers with rooftop solar and /or battery systems should consult their solar contractor about how to prepare for a temporary outage.—Assess all safety systems and alarms with an electrical connection to determine how an outage might affect them.—Invest in and use surge protection for electronics and other equipment.—“Never plug a portable generator’s power into a household outlet because electricity may backflow into utility lines, creating a safety hazard for utility personnel. For tips on how to safely use a generator at home, visit.”—Check seals on refrigerator and /or freezer doors ; they should be well insulated.—“Ensure that any Hawaiian Electric equipment at your premises (e.g., transformers, switchgear, meters, etc.) has level and unobstructed access. A minimum of 10 feet circumference clearance is required to ensure safety.”—Learn how to manually open your electric garage doors and /or security gates, or park your vehicle outside them before the scheduled outage.—Confirm contact information on your customer account at hawaiianelectric.com to ensure you’ll be notified about a potential PSPS outage.

During PSPS :—Keep refrigerator /freezer doors closed.—Be ready to manually open and close garage doors and /or security gates.—“Be aware that narrow road conditions may require crews to block traffic near the work area so they can access vehicles and equipment.”

After PSPS :—Check all foods before cooking or consuming. See for recommendations.—Turn off your generator safely, if you used one.—Once power has been restored, check equipment and gradually turn on essential items.—“For customers with rooftop solar and /or battery systems, consult your solar contractor regarding how to check and reset the main control panel if your system is not working.”

Read much more at, where there also are checklists for commercial customers and for customers with special medical needs.————Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, HI 96813 ; call 808-529-4773 ; or email kokualine @staradvertiser.com.————

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