PUC decision holds Hawaii Island electric rates steady

The Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday rejected Hawaiian Electric’s request for a rate increase for customers on Hawaii Island.

Hawaiian Electric filed its request for a 3.4% or $13.4 million increase in revenue in December 2018. In requesting the increase, the company cited improvements to the power grid to help integrate renewable resources and improve reliability, as well as extensive management of vegetation that reduced outages during storms.

The PUC, in its 92-page decision and order issued Tuesday, said Hawaiian Electric had not “satisfactorily justified” increases for Hawaii Island.

The commission noted that a recent management audit of Hawaiian Electric “identified a number of areas ripe for improvement across all of the Hawaiian Electric Companies, which reflect existing operational inefficiencies” and that the Hawaii Island utility has already received increases to its target revenues through operation of its decoupling mechanism, among other facts and findings.

The final determination follows an interim decision issued by regulators in November 2019. In that interim decision, Hawaiian Electric said regulators declined to approve the increase in revenues sought by the company and rates were held at their existing levels.

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