Hawaiian Electric prepared to see customers through summer heat

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It has been hot lately with a lot of people using their air conditioners to stay cool.

“It’s been very hot, very humid,” said Waianae resident Victoria Kaahaaina.

“We’ve been running our AC a little more than usual,” said Nuuanu resident Max Louie.

Even with year-round sunny weather, residents say the recent heat has been tough to beat.

So we were wondering, has there been a spike in power use and can Hawaiian Electric keep up with the demand?

“This time of year, it’s very hot and we understand people start to feel uncomfortable, but actually energy use is higher later in the year,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

Pai noted that customers are using one percent less power than they did the same time last year. People use more electricity in September and October, when temperature and humidity levels really spike.

Even with record-breaking temperatures, HECO says it can support all of its customers.

In January and last September, HECO asked customers to conserve electricity because some generators were out of service. Now, HECO says, those issues have been fixed.

“At this time, we only really have one generating unit that’s down for maintenance. That one’s owned by the independent company AES. The rest of our generators are available if needed,” Pai said.

Pai also said power use isn’t as high during the summer months compared to other times of the year, because people are traveling, and out of the house.

“The sun doesn’t go down as early, so people aren’t turning on the light as early and overall people tend to be a little more active during the summer months so maybe they’re not as home as much to use electricity,” Pai said.

Even though HECO can support customer demand now, officials are always asking customers to use energy wisely and to find other ways to stay cool.

“Smoothies, nice watermelon juice, stuff like that,” Louie said.

HECO offers many tips on how to stay cool while saving energy. For example, run ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner, which could save you more than $70 a month. Use CFL or LED bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy, and hang awnings or blinds, or install tint on windows, which could reflect 80 percent of the incoming heat.

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