Maui News

Interim rate increase approved for MECO customers: average electric bills to increase between $5.21-$5.65 per month

July 29, 2010, 6:09 AM HST
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The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Wednesday granted Maui Electric Company (MECO) an interim rate increase, effective August 1, 2010.  The PUC approved an increase for customers on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai of 3.3%, or $10.3 million.

The impact on a typical residential household in Maui County would be:

  • Maui (600 kwh month): $5.43 per month increase, bringing a total bill to $186.02.
  • Molokai (500 kwh month): $5.21 per month increase, bringing a total bill to $187.67.
  • Lanai (500 kwh month): $5.65 per month increase, bringing a total bill to $196.87.

The impact of the increase will vary by type of customer and actual electricity usage.

The increase reflects a previously announced settlement agreement between Maui Electric and the State Division of Consumer Advocacy (CA). The PUC will continue to review details of the request and later issue a final decision. If, at that time, a lower final increase is approved, the difference would be refunded to customers with interest.

The increase will help pay for more than $122 million in new capital projects to improve service reliability.

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Among the major projects are:

  • Replacement and upgrade of power plant control systems for Maalaea Generating Units M17 and M19,
  • New or expanded substations to support past and future growth and improve service,
  • Replacement and upgrade of underground lines to improve service reliability, and
  • Investments in transformers, poles, meters and other facilities to maintain reliable service and fulfill new service requests from customers.
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The increase will also cover costs for more frequent inspections of utility poles and lines and increased tree trimming around power lines for greater reliability, and more extensive servicing of generating units to maintain efficiency. MECO originally submitted its rate increase application in September 2009 and had requested $28.2 million, or 9.7%. The PUC held public hearings on the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai on the proposed increase in December 2009. MECO’s last general rate increase was 3.7%, received in December 2007.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information courtesy Maui Electric Company)

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