By Sonia Isotov
Oahu customers are the last of Hawaiian Electric’s customers to receive the new tiered electric rate structure already in place for Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company customers.
The tiered rate structure is designed to encourage energy conservation and rewards customers with lower electric rates for lower kilowatt-hour (kWh) rates.
The new tiered rates for Oahu customers became effective today as a result of decision last Friday by the Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission.
Basically, customers who use more energy will pay higher rates for the higher increments of energy used. The new rate structure consists of three tiers for electric rates. The amount of electricity a customer uses each month determines how many of the tiers apply. The rate tiers are: up to 350 kWh per month; 351-1200 kWh per month; more than 1200 kWh per month. The majority of customer bills fall into the first and second rate tiers.
“To reach our clean energy goals, as a community we need to find ways to reduce our energy use. Tiered rates offer customers a clear pricing incentive to conserve electricity,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president, in a statement today.
Also, approved by the PUC was Hawaiian Electric’s request to allow the total amount of electricity used by qualifying low-income customers to be billed only at the lowest rate tier. Customers must provide a copy of their qualification letter for the federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in order to receive this benefit.