Hawaii utility faces scrutiny for not cutting power to reduce fire risks

August 12, 2023

ArrowRight The state’s electric utility responded with some preemptive steps but did not use what is widely regarded as the most aggressive but effective safety measure: shutting down the power. According to Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, the intense winds knocked down about 30 utility poles across the region, many onto trees and roads, complicating evacuations. That’s the intent of an “public power shutoff plan,” a strategy with serious trade-offs. In a filing to the state last year, it pointed to California’s Public Power Shutoff Plan as a successful way to prevent wildfires when additional robust techniques are not yet in place. “There are several spans of downed power lines in various areas that require repairs,” it wrote.