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Report: Hawaii's electricity cost is highest in the nation

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 02:50 p.m. HST, Jan 31, 2012

New data from the federal government shows that Hawaii residents paid the highest rates for electricity in the country in 2010.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average price in Hawaii that year was 25.1 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Wyoming had the lowest retail rate at  6.2 cents. The national average was 9.83 cents.

A decade earlier, in 2000, Hawaii residents paid 14 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity.

Most electricity generated in Hawaii in 2010 -- 75 percent -- came from petroleum products.

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J14 wrote:
"Most electricity generated in Hawaii in 2010 -- 75 percent -- came from petroleum products." That petroleum in INPORTED, and all around the islands is energy waiting to be harnessed. In a state that can sustain create solar, wind, and wave, yet stay steadfastly put in the dark ages, without investment in change, the cost is never going to change, only increase, invest in the change, both emotionally and economically and the support infrastructures can occur. Stay narrow in mind and narrow in planning, and just keep writing personnel checks to the business that provide life sustaining products.
on January 31,2012 | 07:22AM
Sunny wrote:
We're now at over .34 per KWH and still highest in the nation and perhaps the world!
on January 31,2012 | 10:49AM
LRC wrote:
And this is breaking news?? We've known this for years!!
on January 31,2012 | 07:27AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Do any other PUCs of any other states permit the electric company CEO to take 6 million in compensation?
on January 31,2012 | 07:32AM
jankenpo wrote:
HECO is private and that's why they can rape us. It's easy to always blame the price of oil. The airlines often do the same, but the airlines that survive do a lot of cost cutting also. HECO seems not to implement a lot of cost cutting things that can help the public. Profit is their main objective.
on January 31,2012 | 12:04PM
livinginhawaii wrote:
While they are private they are still regulated by the PUC which has the authority to over-rule their rate requests. I for one take great offense in the fact that my high rates contribute to such an obscene compensation plan for their executive.
on January 31,2012 | 03:27PM
kainalu wrote:
on January 31,2012 | 12:39PM
Beautiful_Day wrote:
No Kidding??!!!?
on January 31,2012 | 07:32AM
RHM wrote:
Here is the problem with the misleading "sell" of pricately produced wind and solar electricity, as I understand this, companies such as First Wind and the soon to be constructed Sempra's Ulupalakua project on Maui sell the electricity to HECO for the same price it costs HECO to produce electricity using fossil fueled gas turbines; this is encourage the investments and construction of alternative energy projects. So our environment gets greener but so does the pockets of the private alternative energy producers and HECO. Example: In hte 3rd Quarter of 2011 Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (NYSE: HE) reportsed a $48 million quarterly profit, up about 50 percent from a year ago, on higher earnings in both its electric and banking divisions. The banking division only accounted for $15.5M of this total. HECO will claim that these profits are used for infrastructure improvements among other expenses related to dependable electrical service. Nice but there are winner and losers and the consumer is financing the winners. Remove the tax credits to the utilities and give them to the consumers and not only property owners that can afford solar heating and PV, but to the huge number of renters in our community. Perhaps with this renters will fund their landlords systems and there is a win-win; the renters keep more in their pockets and the lanlords add value to their properties. this will mean the HECO will be resigned to reduce theeir record profits. How will they ever survive?
on January 31,2012 | 07:55AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Yes, HECO uses vague terms such as the upgrade of infrastructure or if you look at your bill they say they have tacked on an additional amount due to a past rate increase. That is very confusing even for an educated person. HECO has been increasing the rates fairly frequently under our noses and we keep getting it shoved down our throats. They say it's the fuel costs but there is something more to it. Maybe it's the fact that they are giving themselves raises. Or is it the investments that line the pocket of selfish individuals who cloak their efforts by saying that we are moving towards greener power all the while costing the consumers more through added things like "upgrade to infrastructure" which can mean anything to most consumers. What infrastructure? Yes, the generators and the pockets of the HECO workers.
on January 31,2012 | 08:59AM
al_kiqaeda wrote:
25.1 cents to 6.2 cents? No wonder Connie Lau was buying tons of her own stock.
on January 31,2012 | 07:58AM
Bully wrote:
We are getting rip off by HECO and the public utilities commision.
on January 31,2012 | 08:04AM
Vivgie wrote:
Google "Hawaii Magma Chamber" and read about how surprisingly close to the surface our source of geothermal power is to the surface. 2 to 2.5 miles! Let's get going!
on January 31,2012 | 08:21AM
oldpali wrote:
I am tired of the HECO commercials telling me to use less electricity. I am consuming less electricity every year, but I cannot reduce my consumption fast enough to keep up with their rate increases! When will HECO be held accountable for making proper investments to reduce our rates? What have they been doing for the past decade to reduce our rates?
on January 31,2012 | 08:23AM
kawika72 wrote:
How's about importing their oil from a cheaper source, to start with. Also, concentrate on investing heavily into alternate energy generation. Forgo all those bonuses to their CEO and use that money to build alternative energy sources. Seems we are all locked into a PUC that is ineffective at controlling HECO's rates. Seems there might be some bargaining going on that involves big money, personal benefits.
on January 31,2012 | 08:38AM
islandsun wrote:
It really doesnt matter how much you cut back, HECO will raise the rates to make their spread...regardless. That should really be THE issue. How much spread is fair and how are they being run.? Since the PUC refuses to request an outside audit with the results made public, we are bombarded with silly advertising and heresay...what a joke.
on January 31,2012 | 03:49PM
olos73 wrote:
So what's new? Past couple weeks been having outages throughout Oahu. Some were blamed on strong winds, but others were unknown to HECO. The more we pay, the more outages we get. How you figa?
on January 31,2012 | 08:29AM
lopelani wrote:
The problem is that as long as green energy is tied into the cost of oil, everyone suffers. This includes families, businesses, government, all the consumers that are slaves to the PUC and their LORD - Hawaiian Electric and it's sister companies. As we all try to reduce our consumption of electricity, HECo, MECo, & HELCo keep seeking rate increases to pad their bulging pocketbooks. This results in their Execs receiving way too much compensation and the utilities not managing their maintenance costs in a prudent way. This includes their infrastucture as well as their power plants. We used 60 kwh less in January/2012 compared to January/2011, yet paid $60 more on our bill. That occured even though we had 4 more people living with us in January/2012. We were able to reduce our electrical use, and our bill still went up. Then you hear that HECo has increased not only its revenue but also profits. Enough with the shibai commercials HECO, give back to the community in a true heartfelt way and give meaningful rebates to your customers or reduce your way too high rates....
on January 31,2012 | 08:34AM
connie wrote:
Continent has coal and natural gas. Hawaii does not have coal or natural gas. Coal 5 cents per kwh. Gas 8 cents per kwh.
on January 31,2012 | 08:39AM
lopelani wrote:
We do have a coal plant at Campbel Industrial Park, the AES power plant. The problem is what to do with all the coal waste generated at the plant, they are stockpiling it on the Westside because the landfill can't handle all of it....
on January 31,2012 | 08:58AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I am not surprised at all. Hawaii's businesses are for gouging their kama'aina. For example, a national commercial for a pizza advertises its pizza for ten dollars. The local franchise advertises their pizza at about six dollars more for the pizza. The national ad for a taco restaurant shows a guy pulling ninety-nine cents change from his desk to purchase the ninety-nine cent taco but the local chain charges about seventy cents more for the taco. The local franchise shows the same national commercial without the audio but with the local price being about seventy cents more. The commercial clearly shows the man pulling ninety-nine cents change. They have the nerve to say, "Why pay more?" And the list goes on and on. A blogger responded to my question by saying that it is because of the costs of doing business here in Hawaii. So it costs six dollars more per pizza because of all the higher costs in Hawaii. Six dollars is just too high a mark up even with the costs of doing business added in. It is just ridiculous. What the blogger's explanation fails to account for is why is that one burger chain in Hawaii follow the national ad? When the national commercial says four dollars and ninety-nine cents for a burger meal you can bet that the local franchise will honor that. All the other local burger franchises tack on an additional cost. So why is that one burger franchise is able to honor the nationally quoted price? Why? Because one burger chain chose to do the right thing while all the others follow the "kama'aina" price gouging that Hawaii is famous for. HECO is but one of the many businesses that gouge the local consumers because they can get away with it. The bottom line is we continue to patronize these businesses. As for HECO, we need to make changes that will allow for competition. And that means the legislators will have to enact something that will stop the monopoly. This will be a tough task as there are many factors that will have to come into play such as how to deal with the union. The union that represents the workers at HECO have a role in the high cost of electricity. Until Hawaii can wrest itself from the powers of these unions the cost of services from HECO to education will continue to skyrocket up.
on January 31,2012 | 08:44AM
smith2650 wrote:
Duh....and our Legislature wants to put a $5 barrel fee on incoming oil!! Try wait. Rates are going up, up, up.
on January 31,2012 | 08:51AM
RHM wrote:
Heres a novel idea, how about HECO building their own alternative energy projects such a wind and solar rather than buying this electricity from a third party. Now this would be an clearly defined infrastructural investment. Each cook in the kitchen is getting a piece of the action; cut out the middle people.
on January 31,2012 | 09:19AM
Sat wrote:
"A decade earlier, in 2000, Hawaii residents paid 14 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity." Today it nearly doubled. And they continue to blame the rise on oil prices? How idiotic do they think the public is? Throughout the past decade oil prices have gone up and down, once reaching a peak of $145/barrel in July, 2008 and fell to a low of $30.25/barrel in December, 2008. During the past six months, oil prices have hovered around $90-$100/barrel. In the meanwhile, the PUC has granted many rate increases over the past five years; and those approved rate increases do involve the cost of oil. The price of electricity paid by the ratepayer is automatically adjusted, up or down, based on the changes in price of oil. To say that the continuing and unabated rise in our electric bills is due to oil prices is disingenuous as well as misleading. The legislature is blindly following the lead of special interest groups and do not have the intelligence nor the will to investigate the issue beyond those interests.
on January 31,2012 | 09:28AM
96706 wrote:
Like we already didn't know. HECO is also part of this "scheme".
on January 31,2012 | 09:47AM
kaleboy wrote:
Its a monopoly and corporate greed.
on January 31,2012 | 10:08AM
Sat wrote:
"A decade earlier, in 2000, Hawaii residents paid 14 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity." And today it nearly doubled. And they continue to blame the rise on oil prices? How idiotic do they think the public is? Throughout the past decade oil prices have gone up and down, once reaching a peak of $145/barrel. During the past six months, oil prices have hovered around $90-$100/barrel. In the meanwhile, the PUC has granted many rate increases over the past five years, and those approved rate increases do involve the cost of oil. The price of electricity paid by the ratepayer is automatically adjusted, up or down, based on the changes in price of oil. To say that the continuing and unabated rise in our electric bills is due to oil prices is disingenuous as well as misleading. The legislature has been taken in by special interest groups and they do not have the intelligence or the will to investigate the issues beyond what those interests tell them. And, yet they always talk about “doing the people’s business.”
on January 31,2012 | 09:53AM
soshaljustic wrote:
How about this:Get rid of any thought of RAIL and the budgetary woes on the STATE that it draws, from taking monies out of the transportation for keiki school transportation monies, plus Lord knows what other funny COST ACCOUNTING METHODOLOGIES are being cooked up, THEN REBATE Hawaii Citizens MONEY because we are being ripped by HECO and a legislature that is not intent on stopping a Transportation ripoff for citizens, simply because it provides a huge mask to make bruddah bruddah monies unda dah table I could care less about the CEO of HECO, and will when I see something being done about the legislative and council ripoff of THE PEOPLE!! IF we stopped RAIL, we will have the MONEY to REBATE CASH to people from these high rates!!
on January 31,2012 | 11:08AM
066MJK661 wrote:
Rail has nothing to do with our electric rates and you know this. Our states continuous argument over rail though has some comparison. We live in a state that sits on a geological hot spot, has the best waves, some of the most consistent winds, and a good deal of sun, yet we have mostly a 1940s era power supply and distribution system because of our people's constant anti-progressive and anti-technological attitudes. We keep saying 'dat don't work here' or 'not good for da islands' whenever it comes to doing anything with energy. Now, here we are also with some of the worst traffic congestion in the US, in a city with one of the highest densities of people, in a city where most commuting is along 1 narrow corridor, and in a place where rail makes complete sense, and all I here is 'da rail eh no good' and 'it no work for hawaii' and so on.
on January 31,2012 | 01:08PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
Well at least the PUC and the democrats can come in first in something.
on January 31,2012 | 01:33PM
lopelani wrote:
Why is this not front page news? Getting gouged by HECo and the PUC should be on everyone's radar. HECo should be on the hotseat blaming oil for the high prices. They are constantly filing rate cases with the PUC to raise their rates. Wake up everyone, do not believe the shibai on television. HECo is the cause of our having the highest rates in the nation. One of their suggestions to turn off your AC and let the trades cool your home, how idiotic. Most of us turn the AC on when we have Kona winds, in other words, no trade winds. Wash with cold water, what family in Hawaii washes with hot water - 0%, nada's. Do not pretend HECo that you are concerned with us giving you more money, we can see through all that smoke that you are blowing....
on January 31,2012 | 02:23PM
Dtab wrote:
on January 31,2012 | 02:42PM
10sfan wrote:
on January 31,2012 | 05:08PM
localguy wrote:
Hey HECO, better keep looking over your shoulder. As technology gets better and better on solar panels, home battery kits, LED lights, efficient appliances, your power to the homes will become a thing of the past. More and more will pull the plug from your grid, not paying you anything. Think it can't happen? Can you say "Bloom Box" as shown on 60 minutes? Be afraid HECO, be very afraid.
on January 31,2012 | 06:04PM
syhud wrote:
Are you surprised?
on January 31,2012 | 06:16PM
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