As island families and businesses continue to face high energy prices, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced a settlement between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) that will result in the withdrawal of a rate increase request for Hawaii Island and a significant reduction in taxpayer dollars requested to cover project costs.
Subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the formal settlement filed with the PUC on Jan. 28 outlines an agreement between the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs'Division of Consumer Advocacy (DCA) and HECO, including its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Co., Ltd. (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), which serve Maui County and Hawaii Island, respectively.
"With high oil prices driving up electricity and other costs throughout our economy, we have to take action to help Hawaii's families and businesses who are struggling to make ends meet," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. "While this settlement will help in the short-term, we remain committed to pursuing long-term solutions toward clean energy alternatives."
As part of the settlement, HELCO will withdraw its request for a 4.2 percent or $19.8 million rate increase in 2013.
HECO and its subsidiaries will also reduce by $40 million the amount being sought for improvements to two major projects --the 110-megawatt biofuel generating station at Campbell Industrial Park and a new customer information system.
In addition, HECO will also delay filing a 2014 rate case that was originally scheduled to be filed this year under the current regulatory framework for reviewing its rates.
DCA Executive Director Jeffrey Ono said: "This settlement will benefit consumers and help reduce the ever-increasing cost of electricity."