POSTED: 4:06 p.m. HST, Aug 16, 2012
The electric utility on Hawaii island is asking state regulators to approve a 4.2 percent rate increase that would generate $19.8 million in revenue.
If approved in its entirety the rate hike being sought by Hawaii Electric Light Co. would add $8.32 to a typical bill of 500 kilowatt hours a month, according to HELCO.
HELCO officialss aid part of the additional revenue would be used to pay for the improvements to integrate more renewable energy into the grid.
Among the projects being pursued by HELCO are advanced wind forecasting systems, computerized models and tools to analyze the integration of more solar power, and enhanced sensors to help system operators manage the variability of renewable energy.
The rate increase, which was submitted to the Public Utilities Commission Thursday, is the first HELCO rate request since 2009 when the PUC approved a 1.3 percent increase.
“Nearly 60 percent of our customers’ electric bills go to pay the cost of fuel and purchased power. So it makes sense for HELCO to aggressively pursue renewable energy technologies that are not dependent upon oil and that will reduce the cost of electric service in the long run,” said Jay Ignacio, HELCO president.