East Hawaii News

DOE May See Reduction in Daytime Electric Rates

November 9, 2015, 4:40 PM HST
* Updated November 9, 4:42 PM
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Hawaiian Electric Companies are working towards providing the Hawai’i Department of Education with lower daytime electric rates.

The proposed rate reduction is in front of the Public Utilities Commission, with the request that the rates go into effect on Jan. 5, 2016 and remain in effect for ten years.

Hawaiian Electric hopes that lower electric rates, which are called “Schedule DOE-J, Commercial Time-of-Use Service” and “DOE-P, Large Power Time-of-Use Service,” will provide schools with the opportunity to add more air conditioning and cooling equipment.

“At Hawaiian Electric Companies, we know the challenges in providing a comfortable learning environment for our students and teachers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “There’s been a big push for air conditioning and fans in our public schools so we wanted to find a way to assist in controlling their energy costs as they add this equipment.

“Our goal in proposing these rates is to give the Department of Education the opportunity to expand air conditioning in classrooms across the state with a tool to manage the increase in electricity use that could really hit a school’s utility budget.”

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It’s estimated that with the lower daytime electric rates, the DOE will save about nine percent on electric bills for the 12 months ended on June 2015, if the rates currently proposed were in effect.

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As more air conditioning and cooling equipment is added, Hawaiian Electric says the cut in rate could help offset the costs.

“These schools are supported by our tax dollars,” said Alberts. “Giving schools greater control over their electric bills will allow more money to pay for education and other priorities.”

Under the proposed rate reduction, 240 public schools on the Big Island, Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i, and Oahu could take advantage of the lower costs.

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“The department has been working on a number of ways to effectively cool schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This time-of-use rate proposed by Hawaiian Electric would enable us to move forward on air conditioning projects while managing energy costs, as well as foster responsible energy use.”

Schools that choose to participate in the reduction would pay 25 percent less than recent average effective energy charges from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., a rate that is the same as the existing rate between midnight and 8 a.m. and is higher than the current energy rate from 4 p.m. to midnight.

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