Rising fuel prices pushed residential electricity bills higher in March on all islands, utility officials said Wednesday.
Hawaiian Electric Co. said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill for Oahu residential customers rose to $203.74 in March from $200.41 last month. The effective rate for electricity on Oahu increased to 32.6 cents a kilowatt-hour in March from 32 cents a kilowatt-hour in February.
HECO also operates Maui Electric Power Co. in Maui County and Hawaii Electric Light Co. on Hawaii island.
Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 36.3 cents a kilowatt-hour this month from 35.8 cents a kilowatt-hour in February. The typical Maui bill rose by $3.22 to $225.46.
Hawaii island residential rates rose to 41.3 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month’s 40.6 cents. The typical bill rose by $5.67 to $259.19.
On Kauai, the rate rose to 42.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, according to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. Last month the rate charged by KIUC was 41.4 cents a kilowatt-hour.
The main driver behind the increase was a jump in prices for fuel oil, which remain high in the Asia-Pacific market, according to utility officials. More than half of a typical HECO bill goes to pay for fuel, a utility spokesman said. HECO passes fuel costs through to its customers with no markup.
Hawaii typically has the highest cost for electricity in the nation. The national average residential rate was 11.52 cents a kilowatt-hour in December, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Hawaii’s statewide average rate was 36.21 cents in December, according to the EIA. Connecticut had the second highest rate at 18.17 cents a kilowatt-hour.