Sticker shock for some Ewa Beach residents. They say their electric bills have gone up drastically in the past five months, even though they haven’t done anything different.
This affected residents with and without solar panels. Experts say there was a perfect storm of circumstances that led to the spike.
“It’s saying that we’re using a lot but we haven’t change any of our usage,” said Ocean Pointe resident Kim Becker. She started seeing her electric bill go up to more $140 a month when it’s normally $20. She has solar panels in her home and the bills have jumped up since August.
“We haven’t change anything, four people live in our house, the same four people for the last three and half years. Nothing has changed, the AC settings have actually gone warmer,” she said.
She wanted to see if her neighbors were having the same problem so she started a poll on social media and found out that more than a hundred of them in her area were also getting higher bills. Hawaiian Electric says August through November was unusually humid, driving many residents to use a lot more energy.
“It was extremely humid in October so a lot of people were cranking up the AC’s using fans your appliances have to work harder,” said Shannon Tangonan, Hawaiian Electric Company spokeswoman.
HECO adds that during that time period there were also a lot of cloudy and rainy days so PV systems were not generating as much energy.
“There’s definitely a perfect storm of something that has attributed to all of these,” said Chris Debone, managing partner at Hawaii Energy Connection.
He says the company has received hundreds of complaints about their bills also. While HECO rates did go up slightly he says the past few months were extreme in high humidity and lower output from PV panels.
“We’ve had that many cloudy days when PV production was down considerably?” KHON2 asked.
“You can actually see it in production this year over years past,” said Debone.
Resident Kim Becker has sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission and a spokesman says it is looking into the matter. We will let you know what happens.