Hawaiian Electric Companies Introduce New Logo

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today introduced a new logo that represents the companies’ roots in the islands as well as their commitment to developing a better energy future for Hawaii.

HELCO Logo

“We’re proud of our long history of service to our islands. At the same time, we know we need to continue to change and do better,” said Dick Rosenblum, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “We’re working hard to lower bills for our customers, improve our service, and develop more low-cost clean energy. The logo is a symbol of those commitments.”

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have initiated ambitious projects to deliver on these commitments. Some of the latest actions include:

  • Pursuing, with Public Utilities Commission approval, five new low-cost renewable energy projects on Oahu – including four solar farms and one wind farm – with a combined capacity of 64 megawatts
  • Making it easier, faster, and cheaper for customers to install photovoltaic projects (as of August 2013, there were more than 34,000 installed PV systems across the companies’ service territories with a combined capacity of approximately 250 megawatts)
  • Planning the deactivation of older, less efficient utility generating units on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island for a combined 226 megawatts – about 14 percent of generation owned by the utilities

In the coming weeks, the companies will be announcing more projects to lower bills, improve service and develop more low-cost renewable energy.

“With oil prices driving up electric bills, we know how tough it is for our customers. Through projects like these, we’re working to bring customers some relief,” Rosenblum said. “This won’t happen overnight, but these are steps to help get us there.”

An estimated 18 percent of the electricity currently used by customers on Oahu and Hawaii Island and in Maui County comes from renewable resources, already ahead of the state’s goal of 15 percent by 2015. So far this year, this use of clean energy has saved customers an estimated $243 million by reducing oil use by 1.9 million barrels.

The new logo was developed by respected designer Sig Zane of Hilo and combines traditional Hawaiian design elements with a modern look. Zane worked on the design with his wife, cultural expert Nalani Kanakaole, and their son Kuhao. They drew upon Hawaiian Electric’s 122-year history for their inspiration.

“From the very beginning, when King Kalakaua pioneered electricity at Iolani Palace and chartered Hawaiian Electric, the company has played a key role in Hawaii’s growth. We wanted to create a design that captures that history and reflects the way the company connects our communities,” Zane said.

Our New Logo:
A Symbol of Where We’ve Been, Who We Are, and Where We’re Going

AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN TIME

At Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, we’re proud of our long history of service to our communities. But we know it’s not enough for us just to look back. Looking forward, we know we can and need to do better. At the top of our priority list:

  • Lowering bills for our customers
  • Improving service
  • Developing more low-cost clean energy

As we reaffirm our responsibility to our customers and communities, we’ve introduced a new logo – one that represents our deep roots in these islands as well as our commitment to creating a better energy future for Hawaii.

A REFLECTION OF OUR HERITAGE

The new logo was developed by respected Hilo designer Sig Zane and combines traditional Hawaiian design elements with a modern look. Zane worked on the design with his wife, cultural expert Nalani Kanakaole, and their son Kuhao. They drew upon Hawaiian Electric’s 122-year history for their inspiration.

“From the very beginning, when King Kalakaua pioneered electricity at Iolani Palace and chartered Hawaiian Electric, the company has played a key role in Hawaii’s growth,” Zane said. “We wanted to create a design that captures that history and reflects the way the company connects our communities.”

Learn more about the story behind the logo by watching the video on this page.

The cost of designing and introducing the logo is not included in customers’ electric rates. To save on costs, the logo is being phased in gradually through the normal course of business.

A SYMBOL OF OUR COMMITMENTS

Today we reaffirm our commitment to our customers – to lower bills, improve service and develop more renewable energy. To deliver on our commitments, we’re taking a number of important steps:

  • Pursuing low-cost renewable energy projects to reduce our use of high-priced oil
  • Continuing to help customers to install solar power
  • Planning the deactivation of some of our older power plants
  • Modernizing our systems and electric grids to improve reliability
  • Improving customer service with new technology and added staff

While the logo is an important symbol of our commitments, we know that, in the end, our actions will speak the loudest. So each and every day, we’re working hard to live up to what our logo represents. And we look forward to working with you, our customers and communities to achieve a clean energy future for Hawaii.

In the coming months, customers will begin to see the logo on company websites, signs, vehicles, uniforms, ID badges, and mailings. To save on costs, the logo will be phased in gradually through the normal course of business. For example, existing inventories of materials will be used up before replacement items that carry the new logo are ordered.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills Related to Energy and Technology

Focusing on two of his administration’s priority issues, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed several bills that advance Hawaii’s energy and technology goals.

Senator Glenn Wakai shared the following picture on his Facebook account

Senator Glenn Wakai shared the following picture on his Facebook account

Upon enacting four measures related to energy, Gov. Abercrombie stated: “We are removing unnecessary barriers to allow a greater segment of our community to invest in and benefit from renewable energy. These bills also improve the efficiency of the industry’s registration and reporting process, while encouraging greater openness and expanding protections for our local communities.”

HB811 (Relating to Energy Information Reporting) simplifies the registration and reporting process for fuel distributors. Part of the Governor’s legislative package, the bill also amends Public Utilities Commission (PUC) responsibilities and powers in relation to energy industry information reporting and allows the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to receive energy industry information.

HB1405 (Relating to the Public Utilities Commission) requires the PUC to include a summary of the power purchase agreements in effect during the fiscal year in its annual report to the Governor. It also expands the use of the public benefits fee to support clean energy technology, demand response technology, energy use reduction, and demand-side management infrastructure.

SB19 (Relating to Renewable Energy) removes barriers for landlords to invest in renewable energy and allows renters/tenants to benefit from lower energy costs. The bill exempts landlords and lessors who install renewable energy systems on their property and provide, sell or transmit electricity generated from those systems to tenants or lessees.

HB1149 (Relating to Wind Energy Facilities) requires a wind energy facility owner to be responsible for facility decommissioning and provide evidence of financial security unless the owner has an existing lease or other agreement that provides for decommissioning. The bill establishes standards and assurances of adequate financial resources to avoid abandoned or neglected wind energy facilities.

Regarding three of the bills related to technology, the Governor said: “Technology is ever-changing, and state government needs to change with it. An open government helps citizens be engaged in their government and further promotes government accountability and transparency.”

HB632 (Relating to Open Data) requires state departments to make electronic data sets available to the public. The bill also requires the chief information officer (CIO) to develop policies and procedures to implement the Open Data Initiative, and appropriates $100,000 each fiscal year of the biennium to Office of Information Practices (OIP).

HB635 (Relating to Broadband) requires the state and counties to take action in advancing the Hawaii Broadband Initiative within 60 days (for conservation districts, the state must take action within 145 days). The initiative’s goal is to provide ultra high-speed Internet access by 2018, and this clear and decisive timeline will reduce uncertainty for broadband companies and serve as an incentive to invest in increased bandwidth.

SB1003 (Relating to Information Technology), another of the administration’s bills, authorizes the CIO to conduct security audits and direct remedial actions, as necessary, in the management of the state’s cyber security.

“As these resources come online, cyber security will become even more critical, and these measures include steps to further secure the people’s data,” the Governor added.

 

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Advancing Hawaii’s Clean Energy Goals

As outlined in the 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed Senate Bill 1087, which establishes a green infrastructure financing program for Hawaii. The Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) program is an innovative financing model that is designed to make clean energy improvements more affordable and accessible to underserved community members.

“This new measure allows us to bring clean energy improvements within reach for a broader segment of the community,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “More of Hawaii’s residents will be able to take advantage of green devices that will ultimately lower electricity bills and contribute to the state’s clean energy growth.”

Senate Bill 1087 creates the framework for a financing structure that will fund this clean energy financing program. Under GEMS, Hawaii’s underserved markets, including low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and non-profits will be able to finance the purchase and installation of energy saving devices without the typically high upfront costs. Payment for the devices would be made over time through one’s electricity bill and paid for with the energy savings. The state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) will facilitate the GEMS financing program via the Hawaii State Energy Office.

“GEMS promotes the democratization of clean energy,” explained DBEDT Director Richard Lim, who was the legislation’s architect. “We are taking a proven rate-reduction bond structure and using it in an innovative way to provide low-cost financing to utility customers.”

The next step for GEMS is for DBEDT to file financing order and program order applications for review by the Public Utilities Commission. GEMS is targeted for implementation in 2014.

 

Governor Signs Healthcare Transformation Bill
Enacts Other Measures Related to Kupuna, Housing, and State Service Access

Gov. Abercrombie also signed House Bill 656, establishing the Health Care Transformation Program within the Governor’s office to advance the transformation.

“Improving health and the quality of care while bending the cost curve are among my administration’s top priorities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Addressing these concerns requires a new systematic approach that affects health care statewide.”

HB656 (Relating to Health Care Administrative Uniformity) also sets specific responsibilities for creating a strategy and timeline for statewide healthcare transformation that includes developing standards to measure quality and costs, reducing administrative burdens for providers and insurers, and improving and expanding the use of information technology to support transformation.

The measure explicitly gives the Governor the authority to obtain information by consulting with any stakeholders, individually or in groups, as part of the foundation for transformation. This is crucial since the healthcare sector cannot make systematic, coordinated changes of its own volition because:

  • antitrust issues preclude many kinds of concerted group action that are not mandated and/or supervised by government authority;
  • while insurers, hospitals, and provider groups can all make sweeping changes within the scope of their own organizations, these changes may have little effect on the rest of the system; and
  • private sector health organizations agree on improving health, quality and cost, but implementing strategies without regulation or at least industry coordination is difficult because such organizations may have mixed motivations in a competitive environment.

“The cost of health care affects every resident and business in Hawaii,” said Beth Giesting, the state’s Healthcare Transformation Coordinator. “While health insurance premiums in Hawaii are relatively modest and offer good coverage, the inflationary trend – on average about 6 percent per year – results in wage stagnation and limited opportunities for business expansion.”

More than any other entity in Hawaii, the state is directly impacted by the effectiveness of the healthcare system as it purchases coverage for nearly 40 percent of the population, and that percentage will grow when new eligibility provisions and requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act result in Medicaid expansion. Med-QUEST programs now cover more than 20 percent of the state’s population with a budget of nearly $2 billion. The Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund covers nearly 15 percent of the population (Its annual budget is $523 million and it carries an unfunded liability of $14.4 billion). The state budget also supports the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, emergency and trauma services at other facilities, behavioral health care, federally qualified health centers, and more.

In addition, Gov. Abercrombie signed the following other measures in separate bill signing ceremonies:

Kupuna Bills
Individuals 65 years or older account for 14.7 percent of Hawaii’s population, which makes Hawaii the eighth in the nation in terms of the greatest percentage of older Americans. The following bills provide protections and resources needed for Hawaii’s growing kupuna population.

  • HB529 (Relating to Care Homes)
  • HB120 (Relating to Health)
  • SB106 (Relating to Aging)
  • HB398 (Relating to Human Services)
  • SB102 (Relating to the Elderly)

SB102 specifically requires that financial institutions report instances of suspected financial abuse of an elder directly to the appropriate county police department (via 911) and the state Department of Human Services via Adult Protective Services:

Oahu – 832-5115
Kauai – 241-3337
Maui – 243-5151
East Hawaii – 933-8820
West Hawaii – 327-6280

Other Health-Related Bills
These bills protect consumers, ensure qualified professionals provide medical treatment, and help families who have loved ones suffering from a severe mental illness obtain treatment.

  • HB847 (Relating to Enforcement Tools to Improve Patient Safety)
  • SB1074 (Relating to Physical Therapy)
  • SB310 (Relating to Mental Health Treatment)

Housing Bills
The following bills address housing needs and recognize that one size does not fit all when finding a solution to end homelessness.

  • SB515 (Relating to Housing)
  • HB536 (Relating to Public Housing)

State Service Access Bills
These bills eliminate barriers to state services and assist Hawaii residents who are deaf, blind or have limited-English proficiency so they can fully participate in the community.

  • HB266 (Relating to Language Access)
  • HB1430 (Relating to Human Services)

State Reaches Settlement with Hawaiian Electric Company

As island families and businesses continue to face high energy prices, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced a settlement between the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) that will result in the withdrawal of a rate increase request for Hawaii Island and a significant reduction in taxpayer dollars requested to cover project costs.

abercrombieheader

Subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the formal settlement filed with the PUC on Jan. 28 outlines an agreement between the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’Division of Consumer Advocacy (DCA) and HECO, including its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Co., Ltd. (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), which serve Maui County and Hawaii Island, respectively.

“With high oil prices driving up electricity and other costs throughout our economy, we have to take action to help Hawaii’s families and businesses who are struggling to make ends meet,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “While this settlement will help in the short-term, we remain committed to pursuing long-term solutions toward clean energy alternatives.”

As part of the settlement, HELCO will withdraw its request for a 4.2 percent or $19.8 million rate increase in 2013.

HECO and its subsidiaries will also reduce by $40 million the amount being sought for improvements to two major projects –the 110-megawatt biofuel generating station at Campbell Industrial Park and a new customer information system.

In addition, HECO will also delay filing a 2014 rate case that was originally scheduled to be filed this year under the current regulatory framework for reviewing its rates.

DCA Executive Director Jeffrey Ono said: “This settlement will benefit consumers and help reduce the ever-increasing cost of electricity.”

UPDATE:

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANIES’ STATEMENT REGARDING SETTLEMENT WITH HAWAII CONSUMER ADVOCATE

We believe the rate case settlement agreement we reached with the Consumer Advocate is fair and recognizes how difficult times are for our customers. High fuel prices are continuing to affect our customers and hurt our state’s economy.

If this settlement is approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, it would allow all of the parties involved to focus their resources on increasing the use of local, renewable energy and other options that can help reduce our state’s dependence on oil and decrease energy costs for our customers.

Governor Abercrombie Announces Appointments Relating To Energy, Human Resources, Health

Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the following appointments:

  • Michael Champley as commissioner to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC)
  • Barbara Krieg as Director of the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD)
  • David Sakamoto as Deputy Director of Health of the Department of Health (DOH)
Michael Champley begins serving on the PUC on an interim basis immediately. His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
Mr. Champley has over 40 years of experience analyzing, integrating and managing complex economic, public policy and technical issues confronting an evolving regulated energy utility industry.  Mr. Champley, 63, is currently a Maui-based senior energy consultant focused on clean energy resource integration in Hawai’i supporting clients including the Blue Planet Foundation.  Prior to re-locating to Hawai’i, Mr. Champley was a senior executive with DTE Energy, a major electric and gas energy company where he held various executive positions including Senior Vice President-Regulatory Affairs and Senior Vice President-Power Supply.  Mr. Champley holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton and a MBA from Indiana University with emphasis in Finance and Public Utility Economics and Regulation.
Barbara Krieg will serve as Interim Director of the Department of Human Resources and Development (DHRD) effective September 16, 2011.  She replaces DHRD Director Sunshine Topping. Ms. Krieg, 53, is currently DHRD’s Deputy Director.  Her appointment to Director is subject to Senate confirmation.
David Sakamoto, M.D. will start as Deputy Director of Health on October 10th. Dr. Sakamoto, 61, was recently a co-researcher on the Hawai’i Physician Workforce Assessment project at the John A. Burns School of Medicine; and administrator for the State Health Planning & Development Agency. Other positions previously held include Vice President of Quality Management at St. Francis Medical Center – West and Risk Manager at Wahiawa General Hospital.  Dr. Sakamoto received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine.  He holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana and a MBA from the University of Hawai’i.

Hawaii’s New $7 Million Federal Grants Aim to Increase Solar and Renewable Energy Integration Into Electric Grids

The State of Hawai’i was awarded more than $7 million in federal grants for renewable energy projects that include increasing solar energy and electric vehicles in Hawai’i, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced at today’s opening of the 2011 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the following grants:
  • $6.1 million to the University of Hawai’i (UH) to work with industry partners to allow the electric grid to take on more solar energy by developing and demonstrating state of the art photovoltaic (PV) inverters
  • $750,000 to state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) to provide technical assistance to the Public Utilities Commission and ultimately help remove barriers to allow for more renewable energy on the electric grid
  • $300,000 to the UH Maui College in partnership with DBEDT and private industry to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Hawai’i
“To move beyond just talking about energy independence in Hawai’i, many people are now doing the intricate and necessary technical work behind the scenes,” Governor Abercrombie said. “The partnerships we are building among government agencies, utilities and private companies are advancing our plans to grow a sustainable economy here in the islands. And our strong alignment with President Obama’s clean energy initiatives opens up new opportunities for Hawai’i agencies, companies, and entrepreneurs.”
The number of PV systems, which generate electricity from sunlight, has doubled in each of the last three years, making Hawai’i second in the nation in photovoltaic per capita use. The two federal grants received by DBEDT and UH will help improve the reliability of the electricity delivery system as we continue to expand our use of renewable energy sources. Right now, electricity is generated when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. The projects will address both technical and regulatory changes to address the variability of solar power and other renewable energy.
“The technology developed through these grants has the potential to facilitate a broader adoption of PV systems at lower costs,” said Dr. Rick Rocheleau, Director of UH’s Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI).
“These grants are important investments in Hawai’i’s efforts to move toward energy independence,” said Estrella Seese, Acting Energy Program Administrator of DBEDT’s State Energy Office. “With the many strategic partnerships between state agencies including UH, the USDOE and energy industry, Hawai’i is poised to reduce its dependence on imported fuels within two decades.”
The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo, hosted by DBEDT at the Hawai’i Convention Center, is a meeting place for international leaders and energy experts. Over the next three days, the State of Hawai’i and its partners will host a roster of world-renown speakers who will share diverse insights into the implications of advanced renewable energy technologies along with cutting-edge projects, while offering their perspectives on policy issues, and investment and financing opportunities.
This morning’s speakers also included R. James Woolsey, former Central Intelligence Director, and Dr. George Ka’iliwai, U.S. Pacific Command, Director of Resources and Assessment.

Lt. Governor Schatz – “Our Energy Future Is Now”

Aloha everyone,

Your administration is working hard to build a sustainable economy, and the key to that is clean energy.  While we’ve just begun, I’m happy to report that we’re making exciting progress.

We are moving fast on electric vehicles.  Through a federal grant, our Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is partnering with private companies, and by the end of 2012, Hawai‘i will have more electric vehicle charging stations per capita than any other state.  We are the ideal place for electric cars because of our high gas prices and short driving distances.

We are building international partnerships on energy.  This week Hawai‘i is hosting the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, where we expect more than 1,200 local and international clean energy leaders in the government and private sectors to attend along with delegations from more than a dozen countries.  The Governor and I are speaking at this summit to welcome our guests and advance partnerships with key government players and investors in China, Korea, Okinawa, Japan and other countries.

These partnerships are critical to attracting the kind of investment that will be necessary to develop renewable energy opportunities for our state and a sustainable economy.  Any type of investment in Hawai‘i is significant in that it strengthens our economy and provides additional job opportunities for Hawai‘i’s workforce.  This particular kind of investment goes further in that it will enable us to get off of oil that much sooner.  The less oil we consume, the less we all spend each month on gas and electricity and the more money we have in our pockets for other needs.  Hawai‘i’s energy program powers Hawai‘i’s economic growth by attracting the inflow of investment as well as reducing the outflow of dollars from our economy.

We are focusing on Megawatts.  What does that mean? It means that all of this exciting talk is just that – talk – unless we get projects approved, financed, and delivered to customers.  So we are working with all state departments, especially the Public Utilities Commission, to make sure that private clean energy producers can succeed in moving Hawai‘i off of oil. Through DBEDT’s Energy Office, we are also working to facilitate the siting and permitting of clean energy projects to ensure the timely and expeditious completion of these projects.  That means that companies that want to deliver clean energy to your home or business will be doing it, not just talking about it.

There’s a lot more to do, but I am energized by the progress made in our first nine months in office.  The Governor and I are determined to build on this solid foundation going forward.  If you want to know more about the administration’s efforts in energy independence, visit http://energy.hawaii.gov.

Aloha,

Brian Schatz
Lieutenant Governor
ltgov@hawaii.gov