The county of Maui, Hawaii, on Thursday sued Hawaiian Electrical HE.N accusing the facility firm of performing negligently by failing to close down its gear regardless of warnings hurricane winds might knock energy strains down, sparking wildfires.


The county stated downed energy strains began the wildfires that destroyed the historic city of Lahaina earlier this month, killing not less than 115 folks and displacing a whole bunch extra.

The electrical firm and its subsidiary Maui Electrical had an obligation to handle the facility strains in a secure method and had been warned by the Nationwide Climate Service that harmful wildfire circumstances have been current earlier than they began, the county stated.

The lawsuit additionally stated a number of stories had warned of wildfire danger within the space, and the utility was conscious of the hazard from fires within the county throughout summer season months when temperatures are excessive, winds are robust and there may be little moisture.


The “extreme and catastrophic” losses from the wildfires “might have simply been prevented” if the utility had applied a plan to close off energy, the county stated.

Hawaiian Electrical didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The lawsuit filed in state court docket asks for an unspecified quantity in damages to compensate for losses sustained by the county through the fires, together with property harm and the prices of fireside suppression. Early estimates of the harm have been pegged as excessive as $5 billion for one of many fires, which burned via Lahaina.

The county’s lawsuit got here after the utility supplier’s shareholders earlier on Thursday filed their very own lawsuit in a San Francisco federal court docket, alleging the corporate’s failure to reveal vital details about its wildfire prevention and security protocols.

Shareholders claimed they suffered “important losses and damages” as a result of firm’s “wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline out there worth of its securities,” in keeping with the court docket submitting.

Shares of Hawaii’s largest utility have been greater than 40% down for the week. The corporate has misplaced greater than half of its market worth for the reason that Aug. 8 wildfires.

An official reason for the fires has not but been decided, however the Honolulu-based firm has been blamed for them in a number of lawsuits filed by victims in latest days.

(Reporting by Arshreet Singh in Bengaluru and Clark Mindock in New York; Modifying by Invoice Berkrot and Stephen Coates)



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