Maui News

MECO Invited to Legislative Discussion on Electric Rates

January 29, 2013, 7:58 AM HST
* Updated January 29, 9:32 AM
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Electric work on Maui, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Electric work on Maui, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Officials from Maui Electric Company are among a list of industry officials invited to attend a joint Senate committee briefing today to discuss electrical rates in the state.

The purpose of the informational briefing is to receive information on factors that impact electric rates, the rate-making process, and to identify potential solutions to reduce the adverse impacts of increasingly high electric rates on consumers statewide.

Senator Roz Baker of Maui, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, said that as electrical rates continue to climb, it is important to look for ways that could reduce rates, and help lessen the burden of high utility costs on constituents.

Committee members are also interested in information about efforts to create an integrated electrical grid using available renewable energy and firm power to lower rates, and reach green energy goals.

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Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment said, “We want to hear the strategies the PUC and the utilities plan to use to incorporate more renewable energy onto the grid.”

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The committee is also interested in hearing what potential challenges may arise and the strategies that will be used address those challenges.

The following organizations and individuals were invited to participate:

  • Public Utilities Commission, Hermina Morita, chair
  • Jeffrey Ono, executive director, Division of Consumer Advocacy, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs,
  • Robbie Alm, executive vice president, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
  • Sharon Suzuki, president, Maui Electric Company, Ltd.
  • Jay Ignacio, president, Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.
  • David Bissell, president and chief executive officer, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
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