Navigating Financial Waters, Empowering Your Decisions.

two square blue LED lights
Markets News

Historic Hawaiian Electric Wildfire Raises Questions about Safety Protocols

In a startling revelation before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura defended her company’s decision not to de-energize power lines before high winds led to a deadly wildfire, claiming the lives of 115 people and decimating the historic town of Lahaina. Facing tough inquiries from lawmakers, Kimura staunchly stood by the utility’s protocol, asserting that pre-emptive shutdowns were not part of their standard procedures, even as they anticipated winds exceeding 60 miles per hour.

Hawaii’s Safety Protocols Under Scrutiny

Kimura’s testimony raised eyebrows among committee members, including U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican. Griffith, who chairs the oversight and investigations subcommittee, demanded an explanation: “Tell us and the American people, why didn’t you de-energize?” he pressed. Kimura’s response pointed to existing protocols, primarily focusing on the closure of problematic electrical circuits rather than pre-emptive shutdowns, deeming the latter unsuitable for Hawaii.

Committee Investigates Causes of Devastating Wildfire

The committee, not satisfied with Kimura’s explanation, summoned officials from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and Hawaii State Energy Office to shed light on the incident. This marked a pivotal moment in their hearing, emphasizing the need for reassessment and potentially overhauling safety measures in the face of Hawaii’s unique environmental challenges.

Unforeseen Tragedy Strikes Lahaina

Tragedy struck on an early August morning when power lines succumbed to relentless winds, igniting a fire promptly contained and extinguished by Kimura’s team. However, a second, more devastating blaze ravaged Lahaina later that day. The cause of this subsequent fire remains undetermined, intensifying the scrutiny on Hawaiian Electric’s handling of the situation.

Legal Battles and Investor Backlash

In the aftermath, Hawaiian Electric finds itself entangled in legal battles. Maui residents and the county have filed lawsuits, alleging the utility’s negligence in managing its electrical infrastructure. Investors, too, have taken legal action, resulting in a staggering 70% drop in the stock value of Hawaiian Electric Industries, the utility’s parent company.

H2: Rethinking Safety Protocols for Hawaii’s Unique Challenges

This tragic incident has ignited a broader conversation about the adequacy of Hawaii’s safety protocols. With climate change fueling extreme weather events, there is a pressing need to reevaluate existing measures. The focus must shift towards creating protocols that address Hawaii’s distinct geographical and meteorological challenges, ensuring the safety of its residents while averting future disasters.

In conclusion, the devastating wildfire and its aftermath have forced Hawaiian Electric and lawmakers to confront the inadequacies of current safety protocols. As investigations continue, there is a collective hope that valuable lessons will be learned, paving the way for more robust and adaptive safety measures in Hawaii and, potentially, serving as a model for regions facing similar environmental threats.

Download our app MadbuMax on the Apple App Store for the latest news and financial tools. Interested in getting your finances in order do not forget to check Dr. Paul Etienne’s best-seller book on personal finance. To access more resources, tools, and services please click here. Also, do not forget to follow Dr. Etienne on IG or Twitter.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *