HONOLULU (KHON2) — A big change is coming to your electric bill that will make the price of your electricity dependent on when you use it.
While some are upset about the change, Hawaiian Electric, and the Public Utilities Commission are hopeful that new renewable projects coming online will lessen the cost.
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The key for the program is the pricing of that daytime rate which should be helped by five solar and battery projects coming online this year. Time of use rates for the Public Utilities Commission and HECO’s pilot program for select customers this summer goes like this:
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daytime is a base rate
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. peak evening is triple the daytime rate
9 p.m. to 9 a.m. overnight is double the daytime rate
“The more renewable energy we can bring on the better we can push down those rates and just help us insulate ourselves insulate Hawaii from those price spikes with oil that we’ve been really vulnerable to, especially the past couple of years,” HECO’s Teri Theuriet said.
Oil prices jumped sky-high after Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago.
According to the Hawaii State Energy Office, since 2021, Oahu’s electricity is up 63%. In 2022, sixty percent of Hawaii’s electricity was produced by petroleum with only 6% coming from utility-scale solar.
The new projects in Waiawa, Central Maui, Waikoloa, West Oahu and Kapolei will combine for 324 megawatts of power.
“We are hoping these renewable energy projects every little bit will help, and we may not see the biggest impact on rates but collectively, collectively renewable projects to create electricity they cost about a third of the cost of oil,” Theuriet said.
Still, there are concerns that working families could be priced out if they can’t move their electric usage to the daytime.
“My question is would be for those residents working multiple jobs, two jobs, three jobs, nurses, EMT tech, what will happen to them?” Oahu resident Gabe Lau said.
“We’re already talking about people being priced out in paradise, right? So, a basic utility that’s required, we should be pushing back on that. I think the Green administration should be pushing back on this. This is not where the average person is going to be able to afford this,” Oahu resident Bill Heran said.
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In total, HECO has 12 renewable projects approved by regulators.