County Of Maui Sues Hawaiian Electrical for Negligence Resulting in Fires

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 tools regardless of warnings hurricane winds may knock energy strains down, sparking wildfires.

The county mentioned downed energy strains began the wildfires that destroyed the historic city of Lahaina earlier this month, killing at the very least 115 individuals and displacing tons of 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 mentioned.

The lawsuit additionally mentioned 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 time months when temperatures are excessive, winds are sturdy and there may be little moisture.

The “extreme and catastrophic” losses from the wildfires “may have simply been prevented” if the utility had carried out a plan to close off energy, the county mentioned.

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 by means of 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” because of the firm’s “wrongful acts and omissions, and the precipitous decline available in the market worth of its securities,” in line 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 because the Aug. 8 wildfires.

An official explanation 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 current days.

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



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