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First Hawaii Electric Light rate increase in 6 years approved
Interim 3.4% increase supports continued renewable energy progress
Release Date: 8/22/2017
Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 22, 2017 - The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued an interim decision approving Hawaii Electric Light Company's first base-rate increase in more than six years.
The approved interim rate will increase the typical Hawaii Island monthly residential bill for 500 kilowatt hours by $4.98. Over the last 12 months, the average monthly residential bill has been $162.58. The 3.4 percent increase - $9.9 million in annual revenue - will help pay for capital improvements including grid upgrades and extensive vegetation management work that is credited with reducing outages and their duration during storms.
Since 2014, Hawaii Electric Light has spent more than $14 million on tree trimming and removal, concentrating on areas where non-native albizia trees threaten utility equipment and highways.
Today's interim decision is consistent with a settlement reached last month between Hawaii Electric Light and the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy. The settlement reduced by nearly half the original request for a 6.5 percent increase in revenue.
The effective date of the new rate will be determined by the commission.
An interim decision is one step in the ratemaking process. The PUC will continue to review the request and will later issue a final decision. If a lower final amount is approved, the difference will be refunded to customers with interest. If a higher amount is approved, the increase will only be applied going forward from the time it is approved, not retroactively.
Hawaii Electric Light leads the state in the use of renewable resources to generate electricity, relying on a diverse portfolio of wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower. Since 2010, the company has increased the use of renewables from 35 percent to 57 percent as of June 2017.
There are several programs available that provide financial assistance for those who are in need, including the Hawaii Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), Ohana Energy Gift Program, and the Special Medical Needs Program. The Time-of-Use program, which offers lower rates during the daytime hours, can help you save money if you're flexible on when you use energy. Go to www.hawaiielectriclight.com for more information.