HONOLULU, July 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI) (NYSE: HE) announced today that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued an interim decision in Hawaiian Electric's 2011 rate case. It will result in a $3.31 a month increase for a typical Oahu residential customer using 600 kilowatt-hours a month effective July 26, 2011. The 2.2% increase ( $38 million in annual revenues) will help pay for approximately $80 million in capital improvements such as grid modernization and other projects that support Hawaii's transition to clean energy and make electric service more reliable.
Today's interim decision is consistent with a settlement reached earlier this month between Hawaiian Electric, the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy and the U.S. Department of Defense, who are parties in this proceeding. That settlement pared back Hawaiian Electric's original request to 2.2%, or $38 million, after netting out $15 million already being recovered through a surcharge on bills. Hawaiian Electric's original request, filed in July 2010, was for a 6.6% increase ( $113.5 million in revenues).
"We know these are still difficult economic times, but these investments are modernizing our electric system to improve service and integrate more clean energy. Currently, more than half of a customer's electric bill goes to pay for fuel oil. As we strengthen our grid and add more renewable energy, our customers will see lower and more stable electric bills than if we continue to rely so heavily on fossil fuels," said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president.
The decision is one step in the ratemaking process. The PUC will continue to review details of the request and will later issue a final decision. The timing and amount of that final decision is at the discretion of the PUC. If a lower final amount is approved, the difference will be refunded to customers with interest.