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Hawaiian Electric to boost rates 2.2 percent for Oahu customers

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:30 p.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011

Hawaiian Electric Co. customers on Oahu will pay 2.2 percent more for electricity, or $3.31 for a typical monthly bill, beginning Tuesday.

The state Public Utilities Commission tentatively approved the rate hike today.

Hawaii Electric had originally asked for a 6.6 percent rate increase. That was cut to 3.1 percent as part of a settlement reached between the utility, the office of the state Consumer Advocate and the Department of Defense. The PUC cut it further to 2.2 percent.

The 2.2 percent increase will generate $38 million in annual revenues for the utility and help pay for approximately $80 million in capital improvements such as grid modernization and other projects, HECO said in a news release.

Hawaiian Electric's original 6.6 percent rate hike request, filed in July 2010, would have added $113.5 million in revenues.

"We know these are still difficult economic times, but these investments are modernizing our electric system to improve service and integrate more clean energy. Currently, more than half of a customer's electric bill goes to pay for fuel oil. As we strengthen our grid and add more renewable energy, our customers will see lower and more stable electric bills than if we continue to rely so heavily on fossil fuels," said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president, in the news release.

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