HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaiian Electric (HECO) is asking for a 4.1 percent increase in revenue or 77.5 million dollars a year. For a typical customer, HECO said that’s about $8.67 more a month.
“As our state is moving toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, a lot of the investments that we’re making have a lot to do with improving the grid, upgrading our system to be able to accomodate more renewable energy and move us toward that goal,” said Jim Kelly, spokesman for Hawaiian Electric.
He said they are not only using it for operations upgrades, but to increase security as well.
“Cyber security has become a huge issue. We not only are trying to keep our customers information safe, but we really need to keep the grid safe, and make sure that we keep bad actors from penetrating our defenses, said Kelly.
The additional funds would also go toward preventing future power outages.
“Vegetation [can cause] outages. A lot of tree branches falling on lines. So we have a very aggressive vegetation management plan that we’re actually spending a million dollars more a year,” said Kelly.
The Public Utilities Commission will have the final say on whether rates will be increased, but it may be months before it makes a decision.
“What we’re really trying to get at is the utilities have asked to increase their rates because they say their costs have gone up. We need to determine, you know, if that’s really the case, and if it’s what’s reasonable for them to charge to provide the service to the public,” said James Griffin, Public Utilities Commission Chair.
The public testimony was on Thursday. If you missed the public hearing, you will still be able to submit testimony online at this website, until a decision on the rate increase is made.