Hawaiian Electric Extends Moratorium on Disconnections for Nonpayment

Hawaiian Electric will extend the moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment through September 1, and urges customers who are having difficulty paying their bill to contact the company well before September to consider payment options.

Hawaiian Electric suspended collection efforts in March to ensure customers’ electric service was not disrupted during COVID-19-related orders to stay at home. On Friday, the Public Utilities Commission gave utilities the option to hold off disconnections through September 1.

Hawaiian Electric wants to work with Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island customers with past due accounts to find the best options to make their payments manageable. While customers are responsible for paying their bills, a variety of public and nonprofit assistance, and Hawaiian Electric payment arrangements are currently available as a result of COVID-19. Additional payment arrangement options for customers are in the works and will become available in mid-July. The company website provides useful, up-to-date information for both residential and business customers:

  • Residential customers can visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/paymentassistance to check whether they qualify for programs available to households experiencing financial strain.
  • For commercial customers, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/businesscustomerupdate for programs geared to help businesses.
  • Hawaiian Electric’s Payment Arrangement Request Form, which is the quickest way to start the payment arrangement process, is available at the above-listed URLs.

The company’s walk-in payment centers remain closed, but there are several payment methods available to customers.

Visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/paymentoptions for payment methods. Customers who prefer to pay in person may do so at no charge at many convenient Western Union payment locations in grocery stores and other retailers throughout Hawaiian Electric’s service territory. The company website provides a list of locations.

For assistance managing energy costs, Hawaii Energy is a trusted resource for tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services. Visit https://hawaiienergy.com/tips for more information.

Private Rooftop Solar Increasing Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Rooftop solar applications and interconnections are increasing this year over last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, across Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory.

New applications totaled 126 for the week ending June 13, just short of the 136 for the week ending Jan. 18, 2020, highest this year to date. So far this year, 2,241 applications have been received, compared to 1,756 at the same point last year.

“We’re encouraged to see continued high levels of applications and completed interconnections, more than double over last year, giving our customers savings on their monthly electric bills and moving the whole state closer to our clean energy goals,” said Lani Shinsato, customer energy resources co-director for Hawaiian Electric.

“Like the solar industry, we are concerned this fluid situation may change due to the impact of COVID-19 so we are carefully monitoring new applications and working with the solar industry on improvements to smooth and speed the interconnection process,” Shinsato said.

For Oahu, including all rooftop solar programs:

  • In April 2020 there were 367 new interconnections and in May 2020 there were 470, for a two-month total of 837.
  • In April 2019 there were 133 new interconnections and in May 2019 there were 180, for a two-month total of 313.

Across the five-island service territory:

  • In April 2020 there were 452 new interconnections and in May 2020 there were 588, for a two-month total of 1,040.
  • In April 2019 there were 220 new interconnections and in May 2019 there were 325, for a two-month total of 545.

“We know that some of these totals represent contracts signed before the response to the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and we may see declines in the future,” she said.

“Still, we commend the solar industry for their ongoing work to serve customers during this difficult period and we are glad renewable progress continues across many fronts, including private, customer-sited renewables, often with energy storage. This represents not just renewable progress and savings for customers, but economic recovery and jobs.

“We will continue to collaborate with the solar industry to ensure future growth. Customers who are interested in going solar should visit our website to learn more and call their local solar contractor who will start the application process for them,” she said.

For more information on clean energy programs, visit:
www.hawaiianelectric.com/clean-energy-hawaii

Land, Rooftops & Parking Lots Sought for Renewable Energy Development

In a new initiative that could aid economic recovery and the transition to clean energy, Hawaiian Electric is seeking information from owners of land or even large rooftops and parking lots on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui, and Molokai that could be available for future renewable energy projects that will benefit all electric customers.

The request may be viewed and responded to at www.hawaiianelectric.com/landRFI. Responses are requested by July 12, 2020.

For the first time, Hawaiian Electric is seeking information on parcels as small as one acre and rooftops with at least 3,200 square feet of useable space for future development of grid-scale solar and wind projects and community solar projects. The location should be reasonably flat and sunny and can include open space of any kind, including large parking lots that could be covered with a shading roof of solar panels.

“Space is essential for developing renewable energy and obviously it’s at a premium in Hawaii. That’s why we’ll need to use both open land and as many rooftops as available to reach our goals,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of strategic planning and business development for Hawaiian Electric. “This could also aid economic recovery by providing income opportunities for land and building owners, by creating jobs and by lowering electric bills. By identifying potential sites, we hope to speed the process for both owners and prospective developers so these projects can be built.”

To participate, owners of land or rooftops need only supply the TMK or address, size of the lot or rooftop and contact information to Hawaiian Electric by email as specified in the request for information. Hawaiian Electric will keep information confidential and only share it with prospective developers who agree not to further share the information.

All further contacts and negotiations, including payment for use of the space and other arrangements, will be private between the owner and a prospective developer. These developers will need to follow standard procedures to reach a power purchase agreement or community solar agreement with the company, including outreach to neighboring communities.

Creating renewable energy projects can contribute to the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 emergency as well as help Hawaii reach its clean energy goals. Clean energy projects create jobs and public revenues as well as reduce electricity costs for all customers. Rooftop and community solar can also help customers reduce their household electricity bills.

Month of May Electric Bill Higher? Here’s Why

Hawaiian Electric residential customers may be receiving higher bills than last month, for several reasons:

  • For the safety of customers and our workforce and to stop the spread of COVID 19 in the community, we announced in late March that we would scale back meter reading temporarily. As a result, bills were estimated based on each customer’s respective usage in the prior month. We apologize for any misunderstanding or inconvenience.
  • As a result of working together to minimize the spread, Hawaiian Electric was able to safely restart meter reading in May. Customers are now receiving true-up bills that reflect the amount of electricity actually used. For accounts that reduced energy use during the pandemic, the true-up bill will account for any overestimation from the prior estimated bill. For accounts that increased energy usage, the true-up bill will account for any underestimation from the prior estimated bill.
  • Stay-at-home orders resulted in many residents using more electricity in March, April and part of May – air conditioners, computers, lights, appliances – because they didn’t go out for school, work and weekend activities. On average, residential customers used about 13 percent more electricity, with above-average users consuming as much as 17 percent more. Depending on the individual customer’s use, the increase could be more or less.

Lower oil prices mean lower electric rates this summer and should help offset higher usage, depending on how efficiently customers manage their use of air conditioners and other appliances. Tips are available at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/products-and-services/save-energy-and-money. Hawaii Energy also is a trusted resource for tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services. For more information, please visit https://hawaiienergy.com/tips or call (808) 537-5577.

Hawaiian Electric encourages customers who are having a difficult time paying a higher true-up bill to contact customer service so that a payment arrangement can be made to help smooth the payment of that bill over more than one month. No late fees or interest will apply at this time. While customers are responsible for paying for their bills, there are options available to help keep accounts current.

The quickest option is to fill out a Payment Arrangement Request Form at www.hawaiianelectric.com/CustomerServiceOptions. Those with concerns or questions may also contact customer service representatives by calling the phone number listed on the company website or on the bill.

Service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through June 30, but customers should not wait until then to contact Hawaiian Electric if they are experiencing financial strain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaiian Electric to Host Online eBus Planning Discussion

Hawaiian Electric will host the first of three Drive Electric Dialogues focused on Electric Bus Make Ready Infrastructure on Wednesday, June 10, 10-11:30 am.

“We believe in a ‘new normal’ where electric buses powered by clean energy help transport our critical workers and community members while reducing congestion and creating quieter, less polluted but more interconnected neighborhoods on all our islands,” said Aki Marceau, director of Electrification of Transportation at Hawaiian Electric.

“As with private electric vehicles, charging infrastructure is a big stumbling block for bus fleets, especially public bus and school bus fleets. We hope to discuss ways Hawaiian Electric can support this transition and how to pay for it efficiently and fairly.”

The online meeting will include Jon Nouchi, Honolulu Department of Transportation Services deputy director, speaking on “Heroes Transporting Heroes – Bus transit during COVID-19.”

Marceau will host the meeting with a presentation of plans by Michael Colόn, Hawaiian Electric Electrification of Transportation manager.

To attend, please RSVP to eMob@hawaiianelectric.com.

On July 29, the meeting will follow up on Hawaiian Electric’s “critical backbone” study pinpointing where expanded public charging would support commuters and tourists to drive electric and help optimize operation of the electric grid.

On Oct. 1, the discussion will focus on commercial make-ready infrastructure to support fleet and facilities for workplace electric vehicle charging.

Hawaiian Electric Posts New Renewable Energy Projects’ Details

Hawaiian Electric has posted details of 16 solar-plus-storage or standalone-storage projects selected in the latest phase of the clean energy transition for Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island.

The name, location, developer, technology, size and estimated completion dates are listed below as well as links to each project’s individual website. Each developer is responsible for ongoing outreach to their prospective neighboring communities, alerting them to plans and responding to concerns.

If all projects are completed as planned, nearly seven points will be added to Hawaiian Electric’s renewable portfolio percentage by 2025. The company expects to reach the mandated 30% renewable energy goal by the end of this year with plans in place to exceed 40% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and 100% clean energy for electricity by 2045.

The 16 projects – including two to be built by Hawaiian Electric – were chosen through a competitive evaluation in the largest renewable energy procurement ever undertaken in Hawaii. Among the criteria for selection were price, location, technology and a plan for meaningful community engagement by the developer.

The results are eight solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone-storage project on Oahu, three solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone-storage project on Maui and two solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone-storage on Hawaii Island for a total of 460 megawatts of solar energy and nearly 3 gigawatt-hours of energy storage.

An announcement on project selection for Molokai is expected by the end of July. Hawaiian Electric is currently working on a request for proposals for Lanai to be issued later this year.

Renewable Project Status Board

We are committed to increasing Hawaii’s use of clean energy and reducing our dependency on imported oil. This status board tracks the progress of new and upcoming renewable energy projects and the impact that they will have in increasing our overall RPS % points – essentially, the percentage of renewable energy on the grid – to meet our clean energy goals.


Stage 2 RFP Final Award Group Projects

Contracts Under Negotiation

NameIslandDeveloperTechSizeEstimated CompletionRPS % Points Contribution
Kapolei Energy StorageOahu (Barbers Pt Harbor)Energy Storage Resources LLCBESS185 MW, 565 MWh2022N/A
Kaukonahua SolarOahu (Waialua)Kaukonahua Solar LLCSolar + BESS6 MW, 25.4 MWh (BESS)20220.03
Keahole Battery Energy StorageHawaii Island (Kailua-Kona)Hawaiian Electric CompanyBESS12 MW, 12 MWh2022N/A
Kupehau SolarOahu (Kunia)Hanwha Energy USA Holdings Corp (174 Power Global)Solar + BESS60 MW, 240 MWh (BESS)20221.2
Kupono SolarOahu (Ewa Beach)Bright Canyon EnergySolar + BESS42 MW, 168 MWh (BESS)20221.0
Mehana SolarOahu (Kalaeloa)Onyx Development Group LLCSolar + BESS6.6 MW, 26.4 MWh (BESS)20220.2
Barbers Point SolarOahu (Kapolei)InnergexSolar + BESS15 MW, 60 MWh (BESS)20230.4
Kahana SolarMaui (Napili – Honokowai)InnergexSolar + BESS20 MW, 80 MWh (BESS)20230.7
Kamaole SolarMaui (Kihei)Pacific Green Ikehu LLCSolar + BESS40 MW, 160 MWh (BESS)20231.3
Mahi SolarOahu (Kunia)Longroad Development Company, LLCSolar + BESS120 MW, 480 MWh (BESS)20233.0
Mountain View SolarOahu (Waianae)AES Distributed Energy IncSolar + BESS7 MW, 35 MWh (BESS)20230.3
Puako Solar PV + Battery StorageHawaii Island (Puako, South Kohala)ENGIE Development, LLCSolar + BESS60 MW, 240 MWh (BESS)20231.8
Pulehu SolarMaui (Pulehu)Longroad Development Company, LLCSolar + BESS40 MW, 160 MWh (BESS)20231.1
Waena BESSMaui (Kahului)Hawaiian Electric CompanyBESS40 MW, 160 MWh2023N/A
Waiawa Phase 2 SolarOahu (Waiawa)AES Distributed Energy IncSolar + BESS30 MW, 240 MWh (BESS)20231.2
Waikoloa Village Solar + StorageHawaii Island (Waikoloa)EDF Renewables Development, Inc.Solar + BESS60 MW, 240 MWh (BESS)20231.8

2019-2020 Completed Projects

NameIslandDeveloperTechSizeCommercial OperationRPS % Points Contribution
Aloha Solar Energy Fund IIOahu (Kalaeloa)Aloha Solar Energy Fund II, LLC (Altus Power America)Solar5 MW4/2/20200.1
West Loch SolarOahu (Ewa Beach)Hawaiian ElectricSolar20 MW11/25/20190.5
Kawailoa Solar, LLCOahu (North Shore)Kawailoa Solar, LLC (Clearway)Solar49 MW11/20/20191.0
Lanikuhana Solar, LLCOahu (Mililani)Lanikuhana Solar, LLCSolar14.7 MW9/19/20190.3
Waipio PV, LLCOahu (Waipio)Waipio PV, LLC (Clearway)Solar45.9 MW9/19/20191.0

Under Construction

NameIslandDeveloperTechSizeEstimated CompletionRPS % Points Contribution
Mauka FIT 1Oahu (North Shore)Mauka FIT One LLC (SPI)Solar3.5 MW20200.1
Na Pua Makani Wind ProjectOahu (North Shore)Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC (AES)Wind24 MW20201.0

Approved By Regulators

NameIslandDeveloperTechSizeEstimated CompletionRPS % Points Contribution
Molokai Island Energy ProjectMolokai (Kaunakakai)Molokai New Energy Partners LLCSolar + BESS2.6 MW, 15 MWh (BESS)20200.1
AES KuihelaniMaui (Central Maui)AES Kuihelani Solar, LLCSolar + BESS60 MW, 240 MWh (BESS)20211.9
AES Waikoloa Solar, LLCHawaii Island (Waikoloa)AES Waikoloa Solar, LLCSolar + BESS30 MW, 120 MWh (BESS)20210.8
AES West Oahu Solar, LLCOahu (West Oahu)AES West Oahu Solar, LLCSolar + BESS12.5 MW, 50 MWh (BESS)20210.4
Hoohana Solar 1, LLCOahu (Kunia)Hanwha Energy USA Holdings Corp (174 Power Global)Solar + BESS52 MW, 208 MWh (BESS)20211.4
Mililani I Solar, LLCOahu (Mililani)Mililani I Solar, LLC (Clearway)Solar + BESS39 MW, 156 MWh (BESS)20211.2
Waiawa Solar Power LLCOahu (Waiawa)Waiawa Solar Power LLC (Clearway)Solar + BESS36 MW, 144 MWh (BESS)20211.2
Hale Kuawehi Solar LLCHawaii Island (Waimea)Hale Kuawehi Solar LLC (Innergex)Solar + BESS30 MW, 120 MWh (BESS)20220.8

Proposed, Awaiting Approval

NameIslandDeveloperTechSizeEstimated CompletionRPS % Points Contribution
Hu HonuaHawaii Island (Pepeekeo)Hu HonuaBiomass21.5 MW20201.6
Paeahu Solar LLCMaui (Wailea)Paeahu Solar LLC (Innergex)Solar + BESS15 MW, 60 MWh (BESS)20220.5
Puna Geothermal VentureHawaii Island (Puna)Ormat Technologies Inc.Geothermal46 MW2022~4.0

Out of Service

NameIslandOwnerTechSizeEstimated Return to Service
Waiau HydroHawaii Island (Hilo)Hawaiian ElectricHydro1 MWTBD

BESS = Battery Energy Storage System

Dates are subject to change based on the results of interconnection requirement studies and impacts due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Hawaiian Electric Ramps Up Resilience Work

Hawaiian Electric will resume critical resilience projects such as replacing utility poles – work normally done before hurricane season but delayed due to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Customers will be notified if the scheduled work requires outages.

Hurricane season officially starts today, and Hawaiian Electric is ramping up infrastructure upgrades to ensure public safety and system reliability across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island. With customers adhering to pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, Hawaiian Electric delayed certain resilience and maintenance projects to minimize the number of customer outages that are often needed to perform the work.

As the state continues to loosen stay-at-home orders, crews will resume critical work that includes removing temporary overhead jumper lines and replacing aging and damaged utility poles. Hundreds of poles and transformers will be replaced through the end of 2020 with higher-priority jobs scheduled first.

Customers should pay close attention to outage notifications from Hawaiian Electric. Notices are mailed or delivered to affected customers several days before the scheduled work takes place to allow time to make alternative plans. With many customers still working from home or taking online classes, these notices will provide information such as the expected duration of the outage.

Crews continue to follow social distancing guidelines while in the field. The public is asked to refrain from approaching Hawaiian Electric workers while they are on the job. If interaction is necessary, maintain a safe distance of at least six feet.

Project to Upgrade Electric Equipment in Area of HVNP.

Hawaiian Electric will soon start a 6-month project to upgrade transmission poles and equipment in the area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Work will be done in phases starting April 1, 2020.

Crews will replace 189 utility poles and install new equipment along Hawaii Belt Road, or Highway 11, between miles markers 30 and 40. One lane will be closed from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“During this challenging time, we know the community is counting on us to keep the lights on. Continuing to provide safe and reliable power is our priority,” said Kristen Okinaka, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric’s operations on Hawaii Island. “Our crews and contractors will practice social distancing on the job and there should be no interaction with the public. It’s part of the critical work that continues, especially in advance of hurricane season, including tree trimming, replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.”

Once the line construction is completed, the replaced poles will be removed via helicopter. Work is expected to be done by Sept. 30, 2020, weather permitting.

For questions or concerns, call 969-6666.

Hawaiian Electric & HEI Charitable Foundation Support Big Island Families During COVID-19 Pandemic

Hawaiian Electric and the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation (HEICF) recently donated $21,000 to three Hawaii Island non-profit organizations that are feeding communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Hawaii Island, the biggest concern and priority is food security. The Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island, The Food Basket, and Activate Hawaii Aid each received $5,000 from HEICF to support their ongoing efforts to provide fresh produce, shelf-stable food, and prepared meals to Hawaii Island families. These donations are in addition to the $2,000 each organization received from Hawaiian Electric last month.

“Communities count on us to provide reliable electric service to operate essential businesses and support new stay-at-home lifestyles,” said Sharon Suzuki, Hawaiian Electric’s president of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities. “It’s also important for us to do what we can to help those who are struggling with basic needs. I’m grateful these three organizations are working together to meet Hawaii Island’s food security needs during this very tough time.”

Through its daily Community Meal Support Initiative, the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island (BGCBI) is providing nutritional hot meals to the island’s most vulnerable populations including keiki, kupuna, homeless, and struggling families. Their efforts help fill shortfalls and resource gaps, especially in very rural communities that are unable to benefit from school-based cafeteria meals due to lack of transportation. Last month, it provided more than 18,000 meals and it now provides up to 800 meals daily. Through this donation, BGCBI can provide 1,272 meals for the community.

“The continued support of Hawaiian Electric and the HEI Charitable Foundation has allowed the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island to be able to quickly respond to the needs of those on Hawaii Island who are struggling as a result of the pandemic,” said Chad Cabral, Chief Executive Officer. “Thank you for a true partnership that helps to support and strengthen our Hawaii Island communities.”

The Food Basket is providing Ohana Drop boxes which include a multi-day supply of shelf-stable food and local fresh produce for individuals and families. It offers drive-thru food distribution at 16 sites around the island and home delivery for those with limited transportation or compromised health. Through this donation, The Food Basket was able to purchase 5,000 pounds of food for the community.

“We are so extremely grateful to HEI and Hawaiian Electric for their long-time partnership and generous support to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable residents on Hawaii Island,” said Kristin Frost Albrecht, executive director of The Food Basket. “Given the skyrocketing number of families and individuals in need in our hard-hit communities across the island, this donation will provide critical food support during this unprecedented and challenging time.”

Activate Hawaii Aid (AHA) is a collective of community and government, working together to activate an islandwide network of resilience. The $2,000 donation supported the Keiki Care Packs initiative by providing 2,712 packs to children in more than 30 Hawaii Island communities. Each pack includes food stuffs, curated activities, resources and materials to help keiki and parents better understand and cope with the pandemic. The additional $5,000 will support the #FeedThePeopleHI – Puna project, a collaboration between Chef Hui and AHA to increase food security for Puna households. Beginning May 15, and every Friday for the next eight weeks, 500 meal kits with ingredients and recipe cards for one-to-two big batch meals will be distributed to communities in upper and lower Puna subdivisions.

“Many hands and many huis have come together to do something special for our keiki and community,” said Ashley Kierkiewicz, lead organizer for Activate Hawaii Aid. “So much thought, aloha, and planning goes into each project, and because it is a massive, ongoing give, working with community leaders is key. We rely on generous donations such as those from Hawaiian Electric, so we can activate our volunteer network and amplify our give.”

Hawaiian Electric Selects 16 projects in Largest Quest for Renewable Energy, Storage for 3 Islands

Sixteen solar-plus-storage or standalone storage projects on three islands have been selected in the latest phase of Hawaiian Electric’s transition to using 100% renewable energy to generate electricity by 2045.

Hawaiian Electric Selects 16 projects

The projects, selected after a competitive evaluation that was part of the largest renewable energy procurement ever undertaken in Hawaii, could produce 460 megawatts of solar energy and nearly 3 gigawatt-hours of energy storage on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. That would increase the total solar megawatts on the Hawaiian Electric system by more than 50%.

Hawaiian Electric will now enter contract negotiations with the developers, who will begin outreach to the communities where they plan to build. The sizes and locations of the projects will be made public in 30 days or sooner if some developers start their community engagement efforts immediately. All contracts must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

“We went big with the scope of this request for proposals to see what the renewable energy market would support and to ensure lots of competition,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for business development and strategic planning. “The projects chosen provide the best opportunity for customer savings and realistic timelines for completion so we can keep our clean energy transition on track.”

The projects are:

  • On Hawaii Island, two solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 72 MW of generation and 492 MWh of storage
  • On Oahu, eight solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 287 MW of generation and 1.8 GWh of storage
  • On Maui Island, three solar-plus-storage projects and one standalone storage project totaling approximately 100 MW of generation and 560 MWh of storage

Energy storage, whether charged from solar panels or the electric grid, captures electricity for use in the evening or other times when the sun isn’t shining. This is essential to replace firm fossil-fuel generation that can generate electricity around the clock.

Among the criteria for selection were price, location, technology and a plan for meaningful community engagement by the developer.

“Even though these are all solar or low-profile storage projects, we know there’s increasing concern about the location of renewable energy projects,” Alberts said. “That’s why we say we need everyone working together – developers, government, communities and Hawaiian Electric – if we’re going to meet our clean energy goals.”

Two projects proposed by Hawaiian Electric were among those selected: a 40-MW, 160-MWh standalone energy storage system on Maui and a 12-MW, 12-MWh storage system on Hawaii Island. Two projects proposed by Hawaiian Electric on Oahu and a separate project proposed for Hawaii Island were not selected.

Independent observers and a technical adviser were selected by the PUC to assure that all proposals – including “self-build” projects proposed by Hawaiian Electric – were reviewed fairly and objectively.

Depending on the length of the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, delays in bringing the projects online are possible. The timeline for these projects assumes the first will become operational in 2022.

Approximately 900 megawatts of new renewables or renewables paired with storage were sought in the request for proposals issued by Hawaiian Electric in August 2019. All technologies were eligible. At the time, it was the largest single renewable energy procurement effort in Hawaii and among the largest by any U.S. utility.

In the earlier procurement phase, completed in 2018, regulators approved seven projects on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island that will add approximately 260 megawatts of solar energy with over 1 gigawatt-hour of storage.

Proposals for Molokai and Lanai have later deadlines than for the other islands. Information for those islands will be released this summer.

Pūlama Lānaʻi, Hawaiian Electric End talks on Possible Purchase of Lānaʻi Utility

Hawaiian Electric and Pūlama Lānaʻi have ended discussions about a potential sale of the electric system on Lānaʻi, which will continue to be owned and operated by the utility.

Hawaiian Electric was approached by Pūlama Lānaʻi in 2019 about acquiring the assets of the utility after Hawaiian Electric issued a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy projects on Lānaʻi. The deadline for responding to the RFP was postponed because of the sale discussions.

With the discussions ended, Hawaiian Electric is working with the Public Utilities Commission and other stakeholders to revise the RFP and continue the effort to transition from using fossil fuels to renewable resources to generate electricity for the island’s residents and businesses.

“We’ll continue working with Pūlama Lānaʻi and the community to develop options for a sustainable energy future that can work to everyone’s benefit,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Hawaiian Electric’s Maui County and Hawaiʻi Island utilities.

Hawaiian Electric Extends Moratorium Through June 30

Hawaiian Electric has suspended service disconnections for nonpayment through June 30 to ensure customers’ electricity needs are met as stay-at-home orders are extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Customers should NOT worry about their power being shut off due to nonpayment through the end of June, and any threat of immediate disconnection unless payment is made received before June 30 should be treated as a scam. Customers experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic are urged to contact Hawaiian Electric to discuss payment arrangements and options.

Hawaiian Electric continues its modified operations on Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus, which includes extending the closure of its walk-in payment centers through June 30. Here are some updates:

  • To ensure electric service is not disrupted, Hawaiian Electric has postponed projects and work that would require customer outages, unless it is deemed critical for safety or reliability. Emergency work, including outage restoration and repairs to ensure public safety such as replacing damaged poles, remains a priority.
  • Meter reading has been scaled back since late March. While meters for commercial accounts are being read, bills for residential accounts may have been estimated based on the previous month’s usage. Plans call for resuming residential meter reading in the coming weeks, and residents are asked to please kokua and practice social distancing for the safety of our community and our employees.
  • With most households adhering to stay-at-home orders, residential customer bills may be higher once their meters are read and bills reflect actual electricity usage.
  • Customers who are having difficulty paying their electric bill are urged to contact Customer Service so payment options and schedules can be arranged to help keep payments manageable. While customers will still be responsible for paying their electric bills, payment schedules and other options can help ease the financial challenges for those most affected by the COVID-19 situation.
  • The quickest way to start the process is to fill out and submit a Payment Arrangement Request Form at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/customerserviceoptions.
  • Households in need of utility payment assistance that meet the 60 percent state median gross annual income limit (individual, $30,767, and for a family of four, $59,167) may be eligible for up to $1,000 of LIHEAP COVID-19 Disaster Energy Crisis Intervention Assistance. Visit the appropriate agency website for more details: Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) www.hcapweb.org; Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) www.meoinc.org; or Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) hceoc.net.
  • If you need assistance managing your energy costs during this time, Hawaii Energy is a trusted resource for tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services. For more information, please visit https://hawaiienergy.com/tips or call (808) 537-5577.

Hawaiian Electric Preparing New Phase of Community Solar

Hawaiian Electric is beginning work on a greatly expanded Community-Based Renewable Energy program, based on recent approvals by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Unlike the first phase, which was limited to 8 megawatts, this phase will be open to 235 MW of renewable generation across Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory, including Molokai and Lanai. The second phase places special emphasis on opportunities for low-and-middle-income residential customers to participate. In addition to private companies, Hawaiian Electric will be able to develop projects and recruit subscribers.

The commission also encourages Hawaiian Electric to explore expanded pay-as-you-go or on-bill repayment options for customers who cannot make a large down-payment, and other financing options that will encourage broad participation.

“We welcome the commission’s ruling, especially the expressed goal to move ahead on a robust program that can help reinvigorate Hawaii’s economy and support recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, while advancing our state’s clean energy goals,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We have a lot of procedural groundwork during the coming year before residential customers can begin to sign up, but we’re committed to making this program work.”

Although CBRE is open to any established renewable energy technology, it is more popularly known as community solar or “solar without a roof,” as it allows customers who cannot put solar panels on the roof of a single-family home to participate in the solar movement and save money. This primarily includes renters and apartment residents, as well as many small commercial customers.

With CBRE, customers who choose to participate can subscribe to part of the solar power generated by a larger-scale facility located on their home island. They then will receive credit on electric bills according to the size and output of their portion of the solar facility.

The commission laid out an aggressive timeline over the coming months, including several technical conferences, for development of requests for proposals (RFP) and special rate structures aimed to benefit low-and-middle-income customers. The commission also dispensed with some regulatory reviews for smaller projects to move them along more quickly.

CBRE will use an RFP process like the ongoing effort to add over 1,000 MW of grid-scale renewable energy, energy storage and grid-support services to the five island grids. The commission also encouraged the company to seek “non-wires alternatives,” that is placement of projects to reduce the need for expensive new substations, transformers, poles and wires when doing so allows for reliable service at lower cost. This is a solution the company is testing in the market and it welcomes the opportunity to pursue these objectives in tandem with CBRE.

Follow developments in community solar at http://www.hawaiianelectric.com/communitysolar.

Hawaiian Electric Marks 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with Release of 2019-2020 Sustainability Report

As the 50th state marks Earth Day 2020, Hawaiian Electric is sharing its 13th annual Sustainability Report, Building a Stronger Hawaii TOGETHER. The 2019-2020 edition, with previous editions, is now online at hawaiianelectric.com/sustainability.

While the company is focused on safely serving customers and providing its essential service during the coronavirus pandemic, Hawaiian Electric employees continue planning the renewable energy transformation that will address climate change and reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO, noted in the report’s introduction: “As the report was being completed, we were seeing the first effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s likely this will change the timelines for completion of many renewable energy projects being planned. Even with this new challenge, we remain fully committed to decarbonizing our energy system because it’s the right thing to do for our children and their children.”

This year marks the 50th Earth Day, begun in 1970 to increase awareness of threats to our planet and to encourage understanding about pollution, endangered species, and many other environmental issues, now including global climate change.

Since before there was an official “earth day,” Hawaiian Electric and its customers have been actively pursuing a better environment for Hawaii and the world.

From promoting the first electric vehicles more than 100 years ago, to early run-of-river hydroelectricity on Maui and Hawaii Island, to hosting experiments with some of the first modern wind turbines, Hawaiian Electric has been in the vanguard across its five-island service territory. From the groundbreaking Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative a decade ago to continued support for development of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion and seawater air-conditioning, to today, when we lead the nation in rooftop and grid-scale solar power for electricity, Hawaiian Electric is committed to building a clean energy future.

While this year’s Sustainability Report cannot capture everything the company and its employees do, it highlights the focus on renewables, resilience, community partnerships and innovation. Among those highlights:

Renewables – The company is on track to achieve the mandated target of 30 percent of customer electricity sales from renewable resources by the end of 2020, including nearly 82,000 customer rooftop systems, up 3,470 from 2019. The company is also seeking more than 1,000 megawatts of new renewable energy, energy storage and grid support technologies.

Innovation – Hawaiian Electric was recognized as Utility of the Year in 2019 by the independent Utility Dive industry newsletter for innovation in adding new renewables to its grids and for other advances, including integrated grid planning and grid modernization.

Electrification of Transportation – Electric vehicles in Hawaii topped 11,000 in 2019, a growth of more than 13 percent over 2018, as Hawaiian Electric continued to promote and facilitate installation of fast chargers, as well as distributing more than 300 free chargers for homes and small businesses. In addition, the company is helping the transportation industry move to electric buses for public, visitor and school-bus fleets.

Resilience – The company prepares year-round for storms, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires and other disasters to minimize impacts and ensure the quickest possible safe recovery. Hawaiian Electric spent more than $220 million in 2019 to harden infrastructure, including substations, transformers, poles and wires.

Volunteerism – Nearly 4,700 company employees and their families contributed more than 12,000 volunteer hours to service projects that are the essence of what Earth Day is about, including protecting Kanewai Spring, revitalizing Ulupo Nui and supporting Hoa Aina o Makaha. For details on these and other projects, see the Sustainability Report.

Hawaiian Electric Sees Drop in Demand During Pandemic

Hawaiian Electric has seen a significant reduction in use of electricity as tourism activities cease, businesses close and thousands of residents stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19.

For Oahu, the average system peak demand (the point of highest energy use) for the week of March 22 was 7 percent less than in previous weeks. On Maui, the decrease was 14 percent and on Hawaii Island, it was 7 percent.

Gov. David Ige issued a stay-at-home order on March 23 and soon after imposed a quarantine on visitors, essentially shutting down arrivals.

The reduction in weekday, daytime peak demand on Maui and Oahu was especially pronounced as schools, offices, government buildings, hotels and businesses closed. Peak daytime demand fell 21 percent on Maui and 16 percent on Oahu after March 22. Maui saw record lows for daytime generation on sunny days when private rooftop solar systems were supplying the most energy.

“Such fast and pronounced changes in demand are something we haven’t seen before and they’re a measure of how quickly business activity and individual behavior were affected by the pandemic,” said Jim Kelly, vice president of corporate relations at Hawaiian Electric. “Hawaii reflects the trends that utilities everywhere are seeing as economies adjust to the impacts of COVID-19.”

Kelly said adequate supply of electricity isn’t something customers should worry about for the duration of the emergency. “Especially with consumption down, we have plenty of generation resources available,” he said.

On Oahu, the reduction in demand means about 200,000 fewer gallons of oil per day are being used to generate electricity.

Data released this week by the University of Chicago found consumption of electricity in the U.S. is down 5 percent from December 2019. In areas hard hit like New York City, consumption has fallen 14 percent since February and in Southern California, it’s down about 10 percent.

Related to the reduction in electricity demand is a huge drop in particulate emissions worldwide.

The University of Chicago researchers say particulates from power generation are down 72 percent since December, including a nearly 200 percent reduction in China. Details can be found at https://epic.uchicago.edu/area-of-focus/covid-19/.

Hawaiian Electric remains operational for generation, emergency repairs and utility maintenance and construction. Other activities – including customer service information and payment processing, customer installations and rooftop solar application processing—remain available online, by phone or mail.

Service disconnections have been suspended through May 17. Customers who are having difficulty paying their bill due to the coronavirus pandemic are encouraged to contact the company to make a payment arrangement.

The quickest way to start the process is to fill out and submit a Payment Arrangement Request Form at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/customerserviceoptions.

Video Released in Lahaina Substation Burglary

Hawaiian Electric’s Maui County operations released surveillance images of a man who broke into its Lahaina Substation along Lahainaluna Road on Friday, March 27 around 7:20 p.m.

The man can be seen on the video stealing a 2013 dark green and black 6-seater Polaris Ranger (diesel fuel) and black custom 2-wheel trailer.

Anyone who can identify the individual depicted in the accompanying surveillance images or anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Maui Crime Stoppers at (808) 242-6966.

Virtual Community Meetings on Proposed Energy Storage Projects

Hawaiian Electric will host virtual community meetings to seek public input on the utility’s five proposed battery energy storage systems (BESS).

The company is proposing two self-build projects on Oahu at Kahe Power Plant and on industrial land near Kalaeloa, one at Waena in Central Maui, and two on Hawaii Island at Keahole Power Plant and Puna Generating Station. The projects made the first round of Hawaiian Electric’s request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy and grid services issued in August 2019.

The virtual community meetings will be held online or televised, featuring a presentation about the island-specific project(s) followed by live interaction between audiences and a host.

Hawaii Island
Wednesday, April 15, 5:00 p.m., Na Leo TV Channel 53. Viewers may email questions to punabess@hawaiianelectric.com or keaholebess@hawaiianelectric.com prior to or during the program.

Maui
Wednesday, April 8, 5:30 p.m., Akaku Community TV Channel 54. Viewers may email questions to mauibess@hawaiianelectric.com and receive live responses during the program.

Oahu
Tuesday, April 14, 6:00 p.m., WebEx live meeting. To join the meeting, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/selfbuildprojects. Scroll to the Oahu projects, Virtual Public Meeting, and click on “Join the Meeting.” Participants can only register the day of the meeting. Viewers also can dial in to 1-408-418-9388 and enter meeting code 965 550 246. Viewer questions can be emailed to kahebess@hawaiianelectric.com or ceipbess@hawaiianelectric.com during the live meeting.

“We know the community is dealing with a lot right now because of the pandemic, and there is uncertainty on how long this will last. If we could postpone these meetings we would,” said Jack Shriver, Hawaiian Electric director of generation project development. “But, these potential projects are under a compressed schedule for permitting and construction. We want to give our communities an early opportunity to provide their feedback on our self-build proposals.”

Shriver added, “Like all developers, Hawaiian Electric’s self-build team must abide by the requirements in the RFP for transparency and community engagement. Our self-build team does not know what other developers are proposing because of the strict code of conduct that prohibits interactions with the team that is evaluating the RFP bids.”

On Hawaii Island, two projects are being proposed, including a 6 MW / 6 MWh BESS in Puna, and a 12 MW / 12 MWh BESS at Keahole Power Plant. Comments on the proposed projects are being accepted until May 15, 2020.

On Maui, the proposed project is a 40 MW / 160 MWh BESS located on 65 acres in Waena near the Central Maui landfill. The project will enable the retirement of Kahului Power Plant in 2024. Comments on the proposed Maui BESS are being accepted through May 8, 2020.

On Oahu, Hawaiian Electric is proposing to build a 135-megawatt (MW) / 810 megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS at Kahe Power Plant and a 65 MW / 390 MWh BESS on industrial land near Kalaeloa. Together, these projects would help support the planned retirement of the 180 MW coal-fired AES power plant, which is due to close in 2022. Comments on the proposed projects are being accepted until May 14, 2020.

Under the Competitive Bidding Framework rules approved by the PUC, Hawaiian Electric may propose self-build projects – developed, constructed and owned by the utility – to meet generation and/or capacity needs across its service territories. To ensure all projects are treated fairly and equitably and will not interact to create problems on the grid, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has chosen independent observers and a technical adviser to oversee the process and proposals. If selected through the RFP process, Hawaiian Electric’s self-build projects would still require PUC approval.

For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/selfbuildprojects.

Partial Road Closure in HVNP

Hawaiian Electric will soon start a six-month project to upgrade transmission poles and equipment in the area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP).

Work will be done in phases starting April 1, 2020. Crews will replace 189 utility poles and install new equipment along Hawaii Belt Road, or Highway 11, between mile markers 30 and 40. One lane will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“During this challenging time, we know the community is counting on us to keep the lights on. Continuing to provide safe and reliable power is our priority,” said Kristen Okinaka, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric’s operations on Hawaii Island. “Our crews and contractors will practice social distancing on the job and there should be no interaction with the public. It’s part of the critical work that continues, especially in advance of hurricane season, including tree trimming, replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.”

Once the line construction is completed, the replaced poles will be removed via helicopter. Work is expected to be done by Sept. 30, 2020, weather permitting.

For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666

Hawaiian Electric Suspends Disconnections

Hawaiian Electric will suspend service disconnections for 30 days so customers who are financially challenged by the coronavirus pandemic don’t have to worry about losing electric service.

Service disconnections of both residential and commercial customers will be suspended through at least April 17. Depending on the situation at that time, the special assistance period may be extended.

Customers facing financial hardship are urged to call Customer Service so payment options and schedules can be arranged to help keep payments manageable. While customers will still be responsible for paying their electric bills, payment schedules and other options can help ease the financial challenges for those most affected by the COVID-19 situation.

“With everything that’s going on, and with the impacts to the Hawaii economy just starting to be known, we don’t want people who are struggling financially to worry about having this essential service interrupted,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We’re providing this special assistance by setting up payment plans and making other arrangements for customers who let us know about their situation.”

To make payment arrangements or for more information, visit our online customer care center at www.hawaiianelectric.com or contact our representatives at the following numbers:

Hawaiian Electric Closing Payment Centers

Hawaiian Electric is taking steps to ensure that we will continue to provide safe and reliable service if the public health responses to COVID‑19 are elevated.

Because we want to minimize risk to customers who visit our offices and to our employees, Hawaiian Electric will temporarily close our payment centers starting at noon Wednesday, March 18. We will reassess the situation next week to determine if it is in the public interest to reopen our centers on Monday, March 30.

This temporary measure is needed to increase social distancing as recommended by state and federal health officials. However, customers still have numerous options to make payments.

Customers are encouraged to:

  • Mail in payment.
  • Use or sign up for online bill payment.
  • Use Speedpay®, an authorized payment service provider that allows you to pay by phone or online (convenience fee will apply).
  • Visit Western Union payment locations throughout our five‑island service territory if payment must be made in person.

For more information, visit our Payment Centers page.

Hawaiian Electric understands that, depending on how long it lasts, the COVID‑19 situation may cause financial hardship for customers. Those customers are urged to call representatives at the numbers listed below to discuss options available to keep their accounts current:

We want you to know that Hawaiian Electric employees are on the job, and our top priority is providing safe and reliable electricity to you. Please stay safe.