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Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Approves Tariff for Interim Time-of-Use Rates

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (“PUC” or “Commission”) issued an order on Friday, September 16, 2016, instructing the Hawaiian Electric Companies (the “HECO Companies”) to offer a tariff giving customers the option of enrolling in a new time-of-use (“TOU”) program, which allows customers to manage their electricity consumption to reduce monthly bills and benefits the overall grid.  The HECO Companies serve the islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu.

Click to read docket

Click to read docket

Traditional electricity prices are flat and do not change based on time of day. TOU programs are designed to price electricity in a way that reflects electricity’s true costs by charging customers different rates at different times of the day, instead of a flat rate.  This encourages customers to reduce electricity use during times when electricity is more expensive to produce, while allowing them to take advantage of less expensive electricity being offered at other times.

The optional TOU rates approved by the Commission offer lower electricity prices during the daytime to encourage customers to use energy when solar and other lower-cost renewables are available. In exchange, the TOU rates are higher during the evening when the overall electricity demand is greatest (the system “peak”). The TOU program is the result of collaborative efforts of the HECO Companies and interested stakeholders, including local community groups, non-profit organizations, and renewable energy companies.

The “on-peak” TOU period coincides with the time of day during which the HECO Companies typically experience the highest volume of residential customer demand.  This period has the highest TOU electricity rate, higher than the price a typical customer would be subject to under the current residential tariff.  The “mid-day” period represents the time of day during which the HECO Companies typically experience relatively lower residential customer demand and higher level of solar PV and other renewable generation. This “mid-day” period features the lowest TOU period rate, below what a typical customer would pay under the current residential tariff.  TOU rates are intended to encourage customers to shift their demand from the “on-peak” evening period to the “mid-day” period and to enable more cost-effective integration of renewable energy.

Several key features of the TOU Program include:

  • Open, voluntary, optional enrollment to all residential customers of the HECO Companies.
  • A rate structure with three distinct time periods, each with its own “TOU” rate: (1) a “mid-day” period from 9am up to 5pm; (2) an “on-peak” period from 5pm up to 10pm; and (3) an “off-peak” period overnight from 10pm up to 9am.
  • A “shadow bill” feature which will allow program participants to compare their bill under the TOU program to what their bill would have been under their previous residential tariff, in order to determine if the program is beneficial to them.
  • A two-year program duration, subject to change by the Commission.
  • An option for customers to opt-out of the program at any time, without penalty.

The Commission instructed the HECO Companies to file a tariff for the interim TOU program within thirty days, at which time the tariff will take effect and the program will be open for enrollment.  The complete Order, as well as links to the docket record, may be found on the Commission’s website at: http://puc.hawaii.gov/.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Offer New Rates for Public EV Charging

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have gained approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission for two new electric vehicle (EV) pilot charging rates. The rates are designed to encourage ownership of plug-in electric vehicles in Hawaii by easing “range anxiety.”

Hawaii Electric Vehicle Charge Station

Electric Vehicle Charge Station

The new Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Facility Service rate (Schedule EV-F) will make it financially attractive for business customers to open new public EV charging facilities metered separately from other uses.

Businesses can now take advantage of EV time-of-use rates without a “demand charge” typically assessed to commercial customers. This new rate will encourage businesses to provide direct current (DC) fast charging, which delivers a quicker charge but at a higher demand. A DC fast charging station can bring an “empty” EV battery to an 80 percent charge in about 30 minutes. (Demand charge represents the electric utility’s cost to maintain the capacity to meet a commercial customer’s highest demand for a fixed period.)

The second new rate, Commercial Public Electric Vehicle Charging Service (Schedule EV-U), allows the Hawaiian Electric Companies to operate up to 25 publicly accessible DC fast charging facilities across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island where drivers could quickly recharge their vehicles for a per-session fee. It also allows the Hawaiian Electric utilities to work with the EV industry to manage electric vehicle EV charging more effectively and do research on load control and demand response.

“Plug-in electric vehicles continue to increase and we want to make it easier for our customers to own and use them,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service. “While most electric vehicle owners will continue to charge overnight at home, more charge spots across the islands will provide assurance to EV drivers that they won’t ‘run out of juice’ while away from home.”

Increased use of EVs can reduce Hawaii’s dependency on imported oil and encourage use of electricity from indigenous renewable resources, such as wind and solar.  Fueling a vehicle with electricity, even from conventional generation, is cleaner and costs the customer less per mile than using gasoline in an internal combustion engine.

“The Hawaii State Energy Office supports widespread deployment of EV DC fast charging infrastructure, which will help promote EV adoption and ease range anxiety,” said State Energy Administrator Mark Glick.  “These new EV rates are a novel approach in dealing with demand charges and a positive step in meeting the state’s clean energy objectives and in proving Hawaii as a leader of EV deployment in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Hawaiian Electric Companies worked with the Hawaii State Energy Office, Hawaii Consumer Advocate, and OpConnect LLC to develop the new tariffs.

According to the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, as of May 2013, there were a total of 1,437 plug-in electric vehicles registered in the state (Oahu – 1,093; Maui – 210; Hawaii Island – 90).

More information on electric vehicle ownership is available from Hawaiian Electric at hawaiianelectric.com/goev or by calling 808-543-GOEV (4638). For information on the State Energy Office’s EV program, visit electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.

 

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company Have Scheduled Meetings

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have scheduled meetings to seek public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans.

IRP2013

Click to see plans

The Action Plans are part of the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process, which looks at how the utilities will meet future energy needs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies intend to file an Action Plan for each company with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by June 28, 2013.

Hawaii Island

  • Tuesday, June 4:  6-8 p.m.. Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St., Hilo
  • Wednesday, June 5: 6-8 p.m. 96-1149 Kamani St., Pahala
  • Thursday, June 6: 6-8 p.m. King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, 75-5660 Palani Rd., Kailua-Kona

Oahu

  • Wednesday, June 12: 6-8 p.m. Farrington High School cafeteria, 1564 N. King St.

Maui County

  • Thursday, June 13: 6-8 p.m. Pomaikai Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului
  • Wednesday, June 19: 6-8 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai
  • Thursday, June 20: 5-7 p.m. Hale Kupuna, 1144 Ilima Ave., Lanai City

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will consider all comments in developing plans that will guide the utilities in coming years.

Information about IRP, including the four energy scenarios that guided the planning analysis, is available at www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.

Ongoing technical analysis of the scenarios is available on the site. The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans will be available for public review on the site after presentation to the citizens’ Advisory Group on Thursday, May 30, 2013.

The PUC initiated the latest round of integrated resource planning in March 2012 and named Carl Freedman of Maui-based Haiku Design & Analysis as the commission’s “independent entity” to oversee the process. The PUC also named a 68-member IRP Advisory Group, composed of representatives from diverse locations and organizations in Hawaii, to provide public input to the Hawaiian Electric utilities in the planning process. According to the PUC: “The goal of integrated resource planning is to develop an Action

Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer needs consistent with state energy policies and goals while providing safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost through development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.”

 

Oahu Residents to Get Small Refund From Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)

Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. announced today that electric customers on Oahu will receive a small refund as the result of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) final decision in Hawaiian Electric Company’s 2011 rate case.

The total estimated refund is approximately $800,000 including interest, although Hawaiian Electric must still finalize and submit to the PUC for review the detailed calculations. The company estimates a typical residential customer using 600 kilowatt-hours a month will receive a refund of 85 cents, which includes interest since July 2011 when the original interim increase was approved.

The refund will be issued in the form of a credit on customer electric bills. The timing will depend on the customer’s normal billing cycle. The refund credit is expected to start showing up in bills sent out in August.

Aside from the refund, the PUC’s ruling will not have any further impact on the amount Oahu customers currently pay for electricity. This is because the decision finalizes the remaining interim rates which are already reflected on customers’ bills.

The majority of the final 3.4% increase was approved by the PUC and included in rates almost a year ago in July 2011, with the remainder effective in April 2012.

Better Place, Sheraton Waikiki and Hawaiian Electric Partner on EV Charge Network in Hawaii

Media Release:

Better Place announced today the start of its initial deployment of EV infrastructure in Hawaii, with the launch of a project to incorporate its electric-vehicle infrastructure in Honolulu, in partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort and Hawaiian Electric Company. The project will start with a small number of charge spots in Waikiki and around Oahu and includes seven electric vehicles. Better Place will manage the charging of the vehicles via a network operations center located in Palo Alto, California.

“Hawaii’s commitment to being a world leader in renewable energy, as demonstrated by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, aligns very strongly with our mission to help end the world’s reliance on oil,” said Jason Wolf, Vice President of Better Place’s North American Operations. “This project marks the beginning of our initial, pre-commercial infrastructure deployment in Hawaii. It supports the state’s goal of leading the nation in renewable energy use, which Better Place will integrate into the grid via electric cars.”

Better Place was among five clean-energy companies awarded funding from the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV), a project of the local nonprofit Pacific International Center for High Technology Research that allocates U.S. Department of Energy funds.

“The role of HREDV is to accelerate commercialization of these clean-tech projects so that private investors and customers can follow with increased confidence,” said HREDV project director Maurice Kaya. “The winning companies showed how their technologies could be game-changers in Hawaii and demonstrated strong technical and management expertise to execute the projects and manage federal funds…”

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