HELCO rate increase approved
The 7.58 percent rise will generate $24.6M in annual revenue
The state Public Utilities Commission has given Hawaii Electric Light Co. approval for an interim rate increase of 7.58 percent.
The utility, which serves about 74,000 customers on the Big Island, will generate $24.6 million in annual revenue from the increase, which went into effect Thursday.
HELCO initially requested a 9.24 percent increase -- worth $29.9 million in annual revenue -- when it filed a rate-case application with the PUC in May 2006. But the company reached a settlement last month with the state Consumer Advocate to reduce its rate-increase request to 7.58 percent.
As a result of the interim PUC decision, a Big Island residential household using 500 kilowatt-hours a month will see its monthly electric bill increase by $11.41 to $163.42 from $152.01.
The PUC, which granted the interim relief late Wednesday, will continue to review the details of the rate-increase request and later issue a final decision. If a lower final increase is subsequently approved, the difference will be refunded to customers with interest.
HELCO, whose last increase was 4.86 percent in early 2001, said the majority of the interim increase will help pay for transmission and distribution line improvements made over the last six years, as well as two new combustion turbine generating units placed in service at the Keahole power plant in 2004.
In the 2006 filing, HELCO also sought to implement a tiered rate structure that would reward customers with lower electric rates for energy conservation. That rate design is still under review by the PUC and was not implemented as part of the interim increase.