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Big Island utility proposes increase to electric base rates

December 17, 2018

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A Big Island utility proposed raising base rates by 3.4 percent to generate $13.4 million in additional revenue.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. announced last week the proposal that aims to fund grid modernization efforts, repairs to facilities damaged by the Kilauea volcano eruption and other improvements to the electric system, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported .

The rate increase would add about $8.21 per month to the bills of typical residential customers using 500 kilowatt-hours.

The proposal is part of a rate review required every three years. It is subject to approval by the state Public Utilities Commission. An increase is not expected to go into effect until late 2019.

The new revenue would also be used to integrate more renewable energy sources and to increase operation at power plants because of the loss of Puna Geothermal Venture, the utility said. The geothermal power plant went offline and was cut off by lava following the eruption that began in May.

Ormat Technologies, which owns facility, has begun restoring access to the plant by building a road over the cooling lava channel.

The utility had to increase production at its steam power plants after the loss of the geothermal plant. Its power generated from renewable sources has been reduced by the loss of the facility. The utility reported earlier this year that 63 percent of its power came from renewables. That has been cut by about half, the utility said.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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