An update on Hawaiian Electric's clean energy transformation

August 14, 2019

Alan Oshima

In the last 10 years, we’ve worked hard to transform our electric systems to reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Greenhouse gas emissions from utility-owned power plants on the five islands we serve have fallen nearly 20 percent. Our use of oil to generate electricity is also down by nearly 20 percent, a reduction of nearly 90 million gallons annually.

And in three years, when Hawaiian Electric's contract with Oahu's largest independent power producer ends, coal will no longer be used to generate electricity in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Electric and its stand-alone island electric systems have been recognized for their technical innovation in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources. Supported by state policies and incentives, 19 percent of our residential customers have private rooftop solar, the highest percentage in the nation. There will soon be more than 4.4 million solar panels online in our service areas.

But reaching our state's 100 percent clean energy goal involves more than solar and batteries. We're investing in new technology and new processes that will bring more renewable energy online while ensuring reliability and resilience on isolated island grids with no backup.

We're also working to offer an array of new digital tools that will enable customers to buy, sell or store electricity to take advantage of variable pricing, potentially reducing bills.

Some of the costs related to these investments are included in a rate review application that we will soon be filing with our regulators.

These rate reviews are required every three years to allow our regulators to determine if our rates and service costs are reasonable.

The application will include a request for a base-rate increase for Oahu customers. In our last rate review, which was filed in 2016, the Public Utilities Commission issued an order that resulted in very little change in base rates, thanks, in part, to a change in federal law that lowered the tax expenses passed through to customers.

As soon as the amount of our rate request is filed, we'll provide details at www.hawaiianelectric.com. The review takes about a year, so if an increase is approved, it wouldn't take effect until mid-2020 at the earliest.

With the guidance and support of energy stakeholders and regulators, we are also finding ways to bring more value and choices to our customers and communities. We know that it will take all of us, not just a few, to make our clean energy future a reality.

A big part of my job is finding ways to operate more efficiently while ensuring safety for our employees and customers. We know that reliable, affordable and quality electric service is the foundation of a strong economy, public health and safety and the lifestyles we enjoy. All of our employees are committed to be your trusted energy advisors.

We thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Alan M. Oshima
President and CEO
Hawaiian Electric