Crews restore power to most of Hawaii's Lanai Island

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

Crews restored power to most of the residents of Hawaii's Lanai Island early Tuesday, but people living in one small town remain without electricity, Maui Electric Co. said.

In this Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, photo, Damage from a recent storm is shown in this photo provided by Maui Electric Company on the island of Lanai, Hawaii. The entire island of Lanai remained without electrical service Monday, after strong winds snapped and damaged utility poles over the weekend. (Maui Electric Company via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — Crews restored power to most of the residents of Hawaii's Lanai Island early Tuesday, but people living in one small town remain without electricity, Maui Electric Co. said.

The entire Hawaiian island of Lanai lost electrical service after strong winds snapped or damaged utility poles over the weekend.

The utility said that crews reconnected 1,575 Lanai City customers to electricity just before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

But, 125 customers in the Manele area remained without power. The utility said crews will continue repairs Tuesday.

Maui Electric said crews worked to repair 19 utility poles on the 141-square-mile island where about 3,000 people live. Billionaire Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of Lanai in 2012.

The repairs involved replacing all of the 19 damaged 45-to-50 foot tall poles, resetting new ones and then restringing about a mile of lines along Kaumalapau Highway to Miki Basin and cross-country to Manele Bay, the company said.

Windstorm damage across the state was the most extensive in years, knocking out power to thousands of people, said Hawaiian Electric, the parent company of Maui Electric.

Lanai lost electricity and telephone service Saturday night, said Maui County spokesman Rod Antone. Cellphone service was spotty, he said.

Lanai High and elementary school were to be in session Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Hawaii's education department said.

Donalyn Dela Cruz, however, said parents should "feed their children breakfast as the school is unable to serve breakfast meals ... The school will be serving a modified lunch."

There are two large, luxury hotels on Lanai, formerly known for its pineapple crop. Four Seasons Resort Lanai was open and operating — but the main phone line was down — while The Lodge at Koele is closed for renovations, a Four Seasons spokeswoman said.

Ellison purchased the island with a vision of sustainability. Part of that vision involves a future powered by solar energy, according to the website for Pulama Lanai, his management company on the island. A spokeswoman referred questions to the Maui Electric utility.

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