HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some Oahu residents opening up their electricity bills this month were shocked to find a major increase. For some, their bill had doubled compared to last month.
Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. (HECO) said the bill not only reflects electricity used in May, but in March and April as well.
HECO said they scaled back on meter recordings at residential homes from late March or early May due to COVID-19.
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t over-estimating, so we used prior usage as our base for estimating,” said Shannon Tangonan, HECO spokeswoman.
She said that’s why electricity bills for March and April are similar. However, if you ended up using more electricity during that time, they are now charging you for that in addition to your regular bill.
“The estimations that were made sometimes weren’t high enough, so customers are now paying for electricity that was actually used during the time period that we weren’t able to read meters,” said Tangonan.
She said the stay at home order during this time likely played a role in additional electricity charges.
HECO staff went back to checking electricity meters at homes on May 11. Since then she said operations have gone back to normal.
While there’s a spike in charges for May, she said you can expect your bill to return to normal next month or even see a decrease.
“Through the summer they’ll see lower bills because oil prices are lower, and so that will affect our rates,” said Tangonan.
With some still unemployed and unable to pay the full bill, she said they are also allowing payment plans.
“If you have this huge spike in your bill, we’ll work with you to spread that out over more than a month if you need. We do encourage customers to contact us, and we can definitely work through any kind of issues they might be having,” said Tangonan.
Tangonan said you can call their offices at (808) 548-7311 or visit the HECO website if you’re unsure about your bill.
If calls are busy, she recommends going to their website, where you can submit questions that staff can answer on the platform quickly.