Hawaiian Electric CEO defends decision not to de-energize power lines

BOSTON (Reuters) – Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee Kimura on Thursday defended the utility’s decision not to de-energize power lines before high winds precipitated a deadly wildfire that killed at least 115 people and razed the historic town of Lahaina.

Kimura said a pre-emptive shutdown of power lines was not part of the utility’s protocol, even as Hawaiian Electric was bracing for high winds of more than 60 mph.

“We had other protocols in place,” Kimura said during questioning in an appearance before U.S House Energy and Commerce Committee.

(Reporting By Tim McLaughlin)