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Power Rates Drop Slightly for Big Island Customers

Posted April 13, 2012, 08:10 AM HST
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Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) announced Thursday that its customers should be seeing slightly lower rates on their power bill. The 1.3 percent reduction, which equals $4.5 million in revenue, would save the average electricity user about $4 per month, based on 500 kilowatt-hours of usage.

In 2009, HELCO filed a rate case to get assistance in paying for over $200 million in capital improvements island-wide, including a steam generating unit at Keahole, and two transmission line improvements in West Hawaii. The request also covered existing maintenance and operating costs for the island’s electric system.

At the time, the electric company had asked for a 6 percent increase on its base rates, which translates to $20.9 million in revenue. That went into effect in January of 2011, but was reduced a year later. On February 8, the new base rate was approved by the Public Utilities Commission. They adjusted the rate lower to reflect a lower depreciation expense that the utility proposed, as well as factoring in a decoupling system, which is a new record to calculate rates.

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The new rates were put in effect on April 9. The amount of difference customers will see varies on power usage.

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