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.
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.
“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.
“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.