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Maui Electric to host community meeting on plans to upgrade county’s power grids

By Staff | Aug 3, 2017

KAHULUI – Maui Electric Company will host a community meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the J. Walter Cameron Center Auditorium at 95 Mahalani St. to solicit input and share the company’s draft plan to modernize the power grids on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

The public is invited to an open house with company representatives at 5 p.m. An overview of the plan will be presented, followed by a question and answer session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The draft Grid Modernization Strategy filed with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in June describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years.

The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources like private rooftop solar, increase reliability and give customers new choices to control their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, such as customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or who seek usage data;

Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption;

Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration, to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;

Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;

Enhanced outage management and notification technology.

Public input gathered from this meeting and others held on Oahu and Hawaii Island will be included in the final plan to be submitted to the PUC at the end of August. The draft plan and related documents are available at mauielectric.com/gridmod.

Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9, 2017.