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HECO switches on 5,200 smart meters on Oahu

    The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "it is foregoing a rate increase request in recognition that its customers are already in a challenging high electricity bill environment."

Hawaiian Electric Co. said Wednesday it has completed installing 5,200 smart meters for customers living in Moanalua Valley, portions of Pearl City, Kaimuki, Diamond Head, Kahala and Waikiki. These smart meters give residents access to a Web portal that provides information about their electricity use to help manage electric bills.

The smart meter provides data broken down by day, time of day, even by 15-minute increments to customers. The smart meter pilot program is the initial installation of smart grid technology.  

If the smart grid plan proposed by HECO is approved by the Public Utilities Commission, the utility plans to incorporate smart grids across Oahu, in Maui County and on Hawaii Island by 2018.

The development of smart grids is a key part of Hawaiian Electric’s energy transition plan for Hawaii that it filed with the Public Utilities Commission in August. The plan included goals of more than 65 percent of the state’s energy needs met by renewable energy sources, lowering customer bills by 20 percent and nearly tripling the amount of rooftop solar energy by 2030.   

The smart grid program consists of a modern wireless communication network that is integrated into the existing electric grid. The system includes sensors to improve outage detection, automated system controls to improve outage restoration time, and advanced electric meters to help customers better manage their energy use.

There is no charge to customers for the switch to smart meters, HECO said.

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