• NOV. 16 -18, 2017
    Click for Information

  • puako-general-store
  • what-to-do-media
  • Cheneviere Couture
  • PKF Document Shredding
  • Arnotts Mauna Kea Tours
  • World Botanical Garden
  • Hilton Waikoloa Village
  • Hilton Luau
  • Dolphin Quest Waikoloa
  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental
  • 10% Off WikiFresh

  • Say When

    October 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  

Notice of Construction on Banyan Drive

Hawaii Electric Light announces construction work along Banyan Drive between Banyan Way and Lihiwai Street in Hilo from October 10 to December 29, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays.Contractors will begin excavation work on October 10. Work will be performed off the road but occasional partial lane closures may be necessary while heavy equipment is moved. Motorists are asked to slow down and drive with caution in the construction area.

This work is part of the company’s efforts to upgrade underground infrastructure and improve service reliability for customers.

Hawaii Electric Light regrets any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding. For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

Hawaii Electric Light Explains Brief Power Interruption – About 21,000 Experienced Brief Loss of Power

Hawaii Electric Light reports that about 21,000 customers in various areas of the island experienced a brief power interruption this afternoon due to a sudden loss of generation when a combustion turbine unit (CT5) at its Keahole Power Plant tripped offline.

Protective devices automatically disconnected some customers temporarily to rebalance the available supply of power generation with the demand for power, stabilizing the grid and maintaining service for the majority of customers. Those affected experienced a temporary power interruption lasting about 10 minutes while backup generators were started.

The unit has since returned to service. Customers who remain without service may call 969-6666. Hawaii Electric Light also posts outage information on its Twitter account @HIElectricLight with the hashtag #BigIslandOutage.

Hawaii Electric Light Opens Third Electric Vehicle Fast Charger on Hawaii Island

Hawaii Electric Light announces the opening of a new utility-owned and operated electric vehicle DC fast charger accessible to the Hawaii Island community. The company held a dedication ceremony for the unit located at KTA Super Stores in Waimea Center today. This is the first DC fast charger, also known as a Level 3 charger, to serve the Waimea community. The unit joins two fast chargers located at Hawaii Electric Light’s offices in Hilo and Kona.

“We’re pleased to have KTA Super Stores as our first host on Hawaii Island and applaud them for supporting electric transportation and clean energy,” said Jay Ignacio, Hawaii Electric Light president. “The Taniguchi family and their employees have humbly served island residents for more than a hundred years. KTA excels at anticipating and meeting customer needs, and this partnership is one example of their commitment to give back to the community in which they serve.”

Hawaii Electric Light operates the equipment at no cost to the host for installation, maintenance or electricity. Hosts provide the requested space and minimal assistance for operation. Hosting a fast charger helps with compliance of the Hawaii state law that requires public parking lots with at least 100 parking spaces to have at least one exclusive parking space equipped with a charging station for electric vehicles. Additional host sites are being sought.

“We are excited to partner with Hawaii Electric Light in helping to bring our North Hawaii community its first Level 3 DC fast charger. Access to charging stations for electric vehicles gives our community more options and opportunities to support a clean environment,” said Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores president. “On behalf of KTA Super Stores, congratulations to Hawaii Electric Light for their leadership in bringing North Hawaii its first Level 3 DC fast charger to fruition.”

Level 3 fast chargers can recharge a near-depleted EV battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes, and even less time for smaller recharges. The DC Fast Charger has both a CHAdeMO connection (used mostly by Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Kia Soul EV) and a CCS connection (used by the BMW i3). The chargers are available 24/7 with three different rates ranging from $7.00 to $8.00 per session depending on time of use. Session prices may change based on the changing cost of electricity. Drivers will be able to safely operate the charger and pay by major credit card or by a Greenlots subscription.

“The Big Island Electric Vehicle Association (BIEVA) is committed to working with Hawaii Electric Light and Nissan with helping to move the EV movement forward and that’s the key thing,” said Richard Castro, BIEVA vice president. “There are many road blocks with range anxiety but knowing these fast chargers are here makes a big difference.”

To become a DC Fast Charger host site, call 808-969-0358 or mail Hawaii Electric Light (GoEV), Engineering Department, P.O. Box 1027, Hilo, HI 96721. Detailed information on electric vehicles also is available at https://www.hawaiielectriclight.com/goev.

Hawaii Electric Bills to Increase – Company Cites Albizia Trees and System Upgrades for Increase

Company cites costs of albizia clearing, system upgrades

Hawaii Electric Light proposed the first increase of base rates in nearly six years to help pay for operating costs, including expanded vegetation management focusing on albizia tree removal, as well as system upgrades to increase reliability, improve customer service and integrate more renewable energy.

The request is for a 6.5 percent increase in revenues, or $19.3 million.

Rate reviews are required by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) every three years.

If approved, a typical residential bill for 500 kilowatt hours on Hawaii Island would increase by $9.31 a month to $171.16. The proposed rate change will be reviewed by regulators and would likely not take effect until the summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Thanks to lower fuel prices, bills reflecting the new rates, if approved today, would still be lower than a year ago.

In 2013, with PUC approval, Hawaii Electric Light withdrew its request to increase base rates, leaving in place the same base rates established in 2010.

As part of the current review, Hawaii Electric Light is proposing benchmarks to measure its performance in key areas, such as customer service, reliability and communication for the rooftop solar interconnection process and to link certain revenues to that performance.

$14M spent clearing albizia since 2014

Among the increased operating costs driving the rate change is an extensive vegetation management and tree removal initiative.

albizia

The threat from invasive albizia trees toppling in high winds became clear after Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 and led the company to triple its annual spending on vegetation management. Since 2014, Hawaii Electric Light has spent $14 million on tree trimming and removal, concentrating on areas where falling albizias threaten utility equipment and highways.

The tree removal program, which is continuing, reduced the impacts of the recent tropical storms Darby and Madeline on roads and power lines, resulting in fewer outages and faster power restoration.

Investments in customer service pay off

Hawaii Electric Light has also spent more than $14 million over the past six years improving customer service systems, developing technical solutions to integrate more private rooftop solar, replacing and upgrading equipment to improve efficiency and reliability and developing detailed plans to achieve the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy. The company has absorbed a large portion of these increased costs in the years between rate cases without passing them on to customers.

Investments in more customer service staffing and new technology have resulted in significantly improved service, including reduced call-waiting times. The percentage of customer calls answered within 30 seconds went from 33 percent in 2010 to 93 percent in 2015. And in surveys of customers who called in to stop, start or change electric service in 2015, 94 percent said they were satisfied with the experience.

Renewable energy use grows to 49%, highest in state

Hawaii Electric Light has increased its use of renewable energy from 35 percent in 2010 to 49 percent today, using wind, hydroelectricity, solar and geothermal to replace oil imported to generate electricity. The company reduced its use of oil by 13 percent over the same period. Part of the proposed rate adjustment will help pay for continued improvements to the power grid to help integrate even more renewable resources while improving reliability.

By the end of 2016, Hawaii Electric Light will have made more than $290 million in capital investments over the past six years, including replacing and upgrading transmission lines in West Hawaii; modernizing generation equipment to increase efficiency; increasing grid capacity and system reliability; and adding or replacing lines and transformers as well as more than 4,500 poles for new and expanded service.

Hawaii Electric Light has “decoupled” rates – a regulatory model that periodically adjusts rates to remove the company’s need to increase sales to recover a level of PUC-approved costs for providing service to all customers. The company is required to submit full rate cases every three years for an updated review by the PUC of the current costs of service.

Hawaii Electric Light Signs Contract to Buy Hamakua Energy Partners Generating Plant

Hawaii Electric Light Company has signed an agreement to purchase the 60-megawatt Hamakua Energy Partners (HEP) generating plant currently owned by an affiliate of the Boston-based private equity firm, ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC. The $84.5-million purchase agreement, which requires approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), is expected to result in lower costs for customers and will support continued integration of renewable energy from variable sources such as solar and wind.

Helco new Logo 2

“We’re pleased to reach an agreement that can benefit our customers in many ways,” said Jay Ignacio, president of Hawaii Electric Light. “It’s expected to result in immediate savings to our customers compared to what they would pay under the current contract. It will also allow us to make better use of the plant’s cycling capabilities to help us continue to lead the nation in integration of renewable energy.

“We are committed to achieving Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable portfolio standard goal and having the flexibility to operate this plant will help.”

Ignacio noted that ArcLight officials approached Hawaii Electric Light about the potential purchase of the plant.

The negotiated sale is estimated to save customers a net $42 million after the purchase price over the remaining 15 years of the existing power purchase agreement. A typical Hawaii Island residential customer could save at least $1.40 per month on their electric bill. If the plant remains in service for its full estimated useful life, projected net savings for customers could total approximately $80 million.

Customers will save from the elimination of payments to HEP under the current contract for making energy available 24 hours a day, as well as elimination or reduction of other costs. For example, the combustion turbine equipment used at the HEP facility is the same as that used at another Hawaii Electric Light generating station, leveraging operational expertise and allowing better procurement and utilization of equipment parts.

Hawaii Electric Light will also be able to make the most of the HEP plant’s cycling ability to support the integration of variable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The current contract limits how often the plant can be stopped and started. By owning the plant, Hawaii Electric Light will have greater flexibility to cycle HEP’s generating units, exercising greater operational flexibility to support renewable energy and use HEP’s efficient generating units.

The HEP plant comprises 23 percent of Hawaii Island’s generating capacity and produced about 16 percent of the island’s energy in 2014. The plant includes two combustion turbines, a steam generating unit, and two heat recovery steam generators.

This combination of generators allows the plant to operate as a more efficient “combined cycle” plant with the steam generator running on the captured waste heat from the two combustion turbines, producing additional power without burning more fuel. The combustion turbines currently run on naphtha, a cleaner fossil fuel, and could be converted to use even cleaner and potentially lower-cost natural gas or renewable biofuels in the future.

The plant also includes a “black-start” generator that can restart the plant in the remote event of an island-wide outage.

Hawaii Electric Light intends to submit the purchase agreement to the PUC and the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy for review before the end of the first quarter of 2016.

NELHA, County of Hawaii, and Hawaii Electric Light Jump into Energy Storage Race

The state, County of Hawaii, and Hawaii Electric Light Company announced a strategic partnership to share resources and attract companies interested in testing and evaluating pre-commercial energy storage units at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park in Kailua-Kona, managed by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

NEHLA Aerial

“This strategic partnership highlights NELHA’s value to our state as a test-bed for new technologies and driver of innovation and economic development,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who last month released more than $13 million for capital improvements at NELHA facilities.

“With the significant cost reduction in clean energy generation over the years, some consider lower cost energy storage to be the ’missing link’ and one of the most challenging elements in the design and function of a clean energy microgrid,” said NELHA Executive Director Gregory Barbour.

Energy storage is a rapidly evolving market and offers significant potential for future growth as microgrids require higher degrees of reliability and power quality, sophisticated generation-load balancing.

According to some reports, the worldwide market for energy storage systems for wind and solar will grow from less than $150 million annually in 2013 to $10.3 billion by 2023 and an installed capacity of projected to total 21.8 GW.

“The good news is that we have already developed the necessary infrastructure to allow for the ‘real-world’ grid connected standardized testing and validation of energy storage devices at HOST Park,” Barbour said. “NELHA plans to offer low-cost outdoor and indoor sites for testing, up to 30kW of power, power sensors, and real-time monitoring data of energy storage devices at no additional cost.”

“Hawaii Island offers an ideal opportunity to develop technologies that will allow more cost-effective, sustainable energy solutions to benefit our residents,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“Our mission is to provide secure, clean energy for Hawaii,” said Hawaii Electric Light President Jay Ignacio. “There are great opportunities in energy storage to increase clean energy, support reliability and ultimately lower costs for customers. This partnership will help our efforts to identify economic and reliable energy storage options that support our mission.”

Added Barbour, “Efforts like these are providing a backbone that NELHA can build out further in the coming years and greatly assist in making the critical seawater system more cost efficient for businesses at HOST Park.”