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Incentive programs target HECO customers

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    Hawaiian Electric plans to build a 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic project next to its Kahe Generating Station.

The Hawaiian Electric Co. said Tuesday it has filed a plan with the state to provide customers incentives to use more electricity during off-peak hours and less power during peak hours.

Hawaiian Electric said it filed the “Integrated Demand Response Portfolio Plan” with the Public Utilities Commission on Monday.

The plan involves “offering lower or higher prices during certain times of the day (to) … encourage customers to shift energy use to specific times,” Hawaiian Electric said in a news release.

The programs are all voluntary. Customers would participate only if the plan benefits them, said Hawaiian Electric spokes-man Peter Rosegg. The plan applies to residential, commercial, industrial and water pumping customers, the utility said.

“Under the programs, customers receive financial incentives for shifting energy use to certain times of the day or voluntarily allowing the output of certain appliances or equipment to be adjusted if necessary to help maintain reliable service for our island grids,” the company said.

Hawaiian Electric said it already offers five demand response programs on Oahu, including the “Energy Scout” program, which provides 32,000 customers a credit on their electric bills to allow the utility to turn off their hot water heaters remotely for brief periods when electric demand is high.

Hawaiian Electric said it needs to do more to manage the demand side of its business because the supply side, or power generation, has become less predictable with the addition of solar, wind and other alternative energy sources.

“Demand response programs are a win-win for our customers and the environment,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “With demand response, customers get financial rewards that lower their monthly bills. We reduce the use of more expensive generators to meet electricity needs. And together we can unlock the potential for more low-cost renewable energy.”

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