HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s electricity rates are 59% above the national average according to the latest report from the United States Government.
Hawaiian Electric is in the process of rolling out a new technology called advanced meters to help customers monitor and possibly reduce their use and bills. Advanced meters are making their way to homes, condominiums, apartments, and businesses on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island.
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The new meters are a free, optional upgrade from HECO that can view power usage in real-time via an app.
“I think the biggest benefit is the ability to see your energy usage in 15-minute intervals,” HECO Spokesperson Shannon Tangonan said. “So what you can do is sign up for the my energies portal, and then you can even set up alerts to let you know like when you’re using or when you’ve reached a certain threshold that you specify,”
The new meters also allow customers to enroll in time of use rates. That means you could get a cheaper rate by shifting your electricity use to non-peak hours.
The base rate for single-family homes on Oahu is 33 cents per kilowatt-hour. Under the time of use rate, those same homes would be charged 19 cents per kilowatt-hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The rate would jump to 46 cents between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. before dropping to 38 cents between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m.
As more people work from home time of use may make more sense.
“They’re able to shift their usage from nighttime to mostly daytime, like instead of doing laundry when you get home from work, do it early in the morning or sometime during the day,” Tangonan said.
HECO had more solar and renewable energy driving power during the day, which is cheaper. They also want to incentivize use at that time to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by 2030.
The meters also help troubleshoot outages.
“We’ll definitely know sooner,” Tangonan said. “It’ll signal to us that these homes have outages. So a lot of times now we really still depend on customers calling in to let us know because we don’t have advanced meters on every household yet.”
There are currently about 47,000 advanced meters installed on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. If you’d like to upgrade HECO will notify you when you become eligible by phone or mail.
There are many other ways to save on electricity, from appliances to lighting.
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With supply chain issues possibly impacting timing, HECO is hoping to complete the upgrade for all customers by the end of 2024.