Q: Who makes the decision on which roads will get repaved? I noticed that Makani Road in Makawao was repaved last year. However, in my estimation the whole length of Makani Road at its worst was in better shape than 500 feet of any of these roads in Haiku - Kaupakalua, West Kuiaha and Kokomo. These roads are full of holes and are dangerous for drivers. County crews will fill the holes, but by the end of the day the filling is gone again. These roads need to be repaved properly soon.
A: The county Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, utilizes specialized software to help assess and prioritize the county-maintained roads that need repaving. Our annual funding for road resurfacing is further spread out among all the districts. Additionally, about 70 miles of our roadways are eligible for federal funding, and those roads also are prioritized to keep the $6 million to $10 million a year in federal funding coming back to Maui County. Makani Road was federally eligible, but Kaupakalua, West Kuiaha and Kokomo roads are not. The good news is portions of Kaupakalua Road are getting repaved this year, West Kuiaha Road next year and Kokomo Road is right behind them.
Q: Why is there a "ceiling" on the number of homes within each community/subdivision that can go solar? People may have the money to install photovoltaic, but my understanding is if they live in a subdivision that is already maxed out, they can't go forward with the installation.
A: The county's role with regard to residential solar systems is to issue electrical permits and to inspect the work for code compliance. The county does not have a "ceiling" on the number of electrical permits it will issue for solar systems. If you want to add solar PV to your home, you are faced with the question of how to provide backup power. If you want to have Maui Electric Co. as your backup power system, your system will be considered "interconnected" to MECO's system and Public Utility Commission Rule 14H will apply. Rule 14H requires the utility to screen for issues that could affect reliability. Currently, residences on Maui installing average-sized systems of up to 10 kilowatts can draw up to 75 percent of the daytime load from PV before a formal interconnection study is required to add more PV. This is a significant step forward, compared to MECO's circuit penetration levels a few years ago.
Q: I heard the flood bulletins that went out last week when we had all that rain. What's the difference between a "watch," a "warning" and an "advisory"?
A: The Maui County Civil Defense Agency works closely with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Honolulu and other agencies, such as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, to issue weather and emergency-related bulletins. In general, a "watch" is issued to allow time to prepare for weather threats that are anticipated but have not arrived yet. "Warnings" are issued when a threat is occurring or imminent, and immediate action is needed to protect life and property. "Advisories" are issued when weather conditions may impact our lives in ways that are not a direct threat to life and property, but ignoring them may lead to hazardous conditions. For flood-related bulletins, the National Weather Service issues three types of area-specific notices: "flash flood watch," which means heavy rain leading to flash flooding is possible; "flash flood warning," which means flooding is occurring or will develop quickly, take shelter and/or move to high ground; and "flood advisory," nuisance flooding is occurring or imminent.
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To learn more, visit www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl.