WAILUA — The Kauai Police Department and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative are asking for the public’s help in identifying persons responsible for damage to the utility’s hydro power infrastructure in Wailua.
KIUC is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect or suspects in the case.
“The cost of repairs — which are estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars — will ultimately be borne by our cooperative’s member-owners: the ratepayers of Kauai,” stated KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, David Bissell.
Noting that this particular system has provided water to two small hydroelectric plants for decades, and currently generates a combined capacity of 1.5 megawatts, Bissell added: “That’s enough to power 1,300 homes. This hydro system is an important component of our renewable energy portfolio and is one of our most cost-effective generation systems.”
The damage to the water diversion site on the North Fork of the Wailua River was discovered on Oct. 18 by a KIUC contractor. It is believed the suspects used concrete cutting equipment to destroy part of a concrete channel and dam structure sometime between Oct.11 and Oct. 18. The damage caused concrete debris to fall into the stream. The debris, along with exposed rebar and metal cables which were left by the perpetrators, created a safety hazard at a recreation site that is frequently used by the public.
KIUC holds a state permit which allows the utility to divert water to generate power for its customers. The water then flows back in to the stream below the hydro generators. Downstream users include taro, flower, vegetable and fruit farmers, as well as cattle ranchers.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Police Dispatch at 241-1711, or Det. Damien McCallum, 241-1693. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call CrimeStoppers at 246-8300.