The Maui News - A power distribution control system that could shut down appliances or lower air-conditioning thermostats for participating customers to meet power demands during peak periods, a battery storage system and smaller fuel-powered generation units have been thrown into the mix of options as Maui Electric Company considers alternatives to a proposed 69-kilovolt transmission line in South Maui.
Earlier this month, Mayor Alan Arakawa, a frequent critic of MECO, applauded the utility's change in direction regarding the installation of a proposed transmission line from the Ma'alaea power plant to a Kamali'i substation. Utility officials brought up the new alternatives at community meetings about the proposed transmission lines earlier this month.
South Maui had the third highest energy load, or 23 percent of the island's total energy use as of April.
The proposed transmission line would cost an estimated cost of $31.5 million.
The utility is researching and evaluating the options and hopes to present its findings to the public at meetings early next year.
The Public Utilities Commission needs to approve the plan.