HONOLULU (KHON2) — The cost for electricity can be pricey, especially in the Islands.

Hawaiian Electric said it is tied to the price of fuel and getting it to Hawaii since only 38% of local power comes from renewable energy.

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Locals pay an average of 44 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity — the highest in the country.

“We have to ship it in, it’s not coming from some place close, so those are additional factors that do make the fuel a little bit higher than other areas,” said Shayna Decker, Hawaiian Electric communications manager. “And so that’s why we’re really trying to work to increase that renewable energy target, so we can actually stabilize goals and not be tied to volatile oil prices that can fluctuate.”

The target is 100% renewable energy sources by 2045, but fuel remains first for now. The cost has been hard on Ewa Beach resident Bri Bickham. Her bill is up almost 50% since March — she owes over $500 at the end of September.

“It’s discouraging with the cost of inflation and everything else that’s going on for working families,” Bickham said, “you know, there’s a lot of people that are making $2,000 a month, that’s 25 % of their net income!”

Bickham said doing full loads of laundry and keeping the lights off only goes so far.

“My kids probably get sick of hearing me, ‘Turn the lights off, turn the lights off!’ Air conditioning is reaching almost uncomfortable temperatures.”

Bri Bickham, Ewa Beach resident

One business that knows how locals feel is Lighting Concepts on South Beretania Street. Their owner told KHON2 that most customers are asking about energy-saving light bulbs or fans.

“But yeah, even with the homeowners, I mean, they’re asking for more ceiling fans than we’ve seen in the past and just, the weather’s hot, you know, they don’t have to run their A.C. as much with ceiling fans, things like that,” said Tom Ogawa, Lighting Concepts owner.

Hawaiian Electric posted a 12-page pamphlet with 101 ways to save, and said the Time of Use program is great for those who can stick to daytime use.

“We have no choice but to obtain our utilities through them. So, I think they really need to look at the impact that it’s having on the community. Working class families are not able to afford these bills,” Bickham said.

Hawaiian Electric pointed to interest-free payment plan options to divide or extend balances, as well as low income programs to help those struggling to make ends meet.

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“So, we really want to work together and just connect with you folks and be able to communicate what’s going on with these prices,” Decker said.