Peter Rosegg, a spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Light, said the initial power hit at 6:45 p.m., knocking out electricity to most of the island. The rest of Oahu lost power two hours later as a second generator failed.
Rosegg said it would take at least 12 hours to get power back and maybe longer. He said the cause of the outage was being investigated.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he’s received word from police that Obama, who has been vacationing at a private residence on the east side of the island, is OK. It wasn’t clear if the house had a generator.
Hannemann told KSSK radio that Obama is in one of the “most secure places, so he’ll be OK.”
The outage closed stores at major retail outlets just after sunset, halting post-Christmas shopping a couple of hours early. Residents were trapped in parking lots and highways were clogged as everyone tried to get home at once.
The other Hawaiian islands have separate power grids.