Hawaiian Electric, one of the best energy companies in Hawaii, has been accused of not taking the threat of wildfires seriously before the devastating Lahaina wildfire. The company knew about the danger, especially in Maui, but didn’t do much about it. According to The Wall Street Journal, Hawaiian Electric admitted four years ago that it needed to prevent its power lines from causing sparks that could start wildfires. But instead of doing something about it, the company focused on green energy projects. This shift in priorities has raised concerns and people are questioning Hawaiian Electric’s decisions.
The 2019 wildfire season in Maui was one of the worst ever. It destroyed a lot of land and damaged property and the environment. But it was during this horrible time that Hawaiian Electric finally realized it needed to do something about preventing its power lines from starting fires. There is evidence to suggest that the company’s equipment may have played a role in the Lahaina wildfire.
JUST IN: Hawaiian Electric, one of the leading energy companies in Hawaii, has been accused of ignoring the escalating wildfire threats in the region prior to the devastating Lahaina wildfire to prioritize “green energy”.
The climate cult strikes again!https://t.co/tOl2pmYgee
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) August 17, 2023
In June 2022, Hawaiian Electric asked for permission to raise its rates and fund a plan to protect its grid from climate change-related problems, like an increased risk of wildfires. The company wanted to spend $190 million across Hawaii to remove dangerous trees, upgrade power lines, and take other protective measures. But the whole process of getting permission could take months. The state utilities commission and others had a lot of questions for Hawaiian Electric. They wanted to know why the company hadn’t started the work sooner if there was such an urgent need. Hawaiian Electric hasn’t given a response yet.
Hawaiian Electric, along with other energy companies and state energy authorities, was so focused on renewable energy goals that they didn’t pay enough attention to the wildfire risks, according to Doug McLeod, who used to be the Maui county energy commissioner. He said they were too busy bidding on big renewable-energy projects to be concerned about fires. Now, investigations are happening to find out exactly what Hawaiian Electric did wrong and why it took them so long to do something about the wildfire threats. The death toll from the fires has reached 111 as of Thursday and is expected to keep going up.