By Associated Press - Monday, April 22, 2019

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved the first base-rate increase in six years by Maui Electric Company Ltd., officials said.

The power company announced the 3.7% increase Friday and expects the change to generate $12.1 million in annual revenue, The Maui News reported Sunday.

The commission approved the base-rate increase last month, but totals had not been finalized. The final tariff and rate schedules and effective date remain subject to commission approval.

The updated rate filed April 17 would help pay for operational improvements, including system upgrades to increase reliability, improve customer service and integrate more renewable energy, the company said.

The utility will no longer pass on all fossil fuel costs. Instead, customers will pay 98%, with the remaining 2% paid by Maui Electric, up to a $633,000 cap, according to the company.



Regulators approved an interim rate increase in August under which a typical Maui monthly residential bill for 500 kilowatt-hours increased by about $5 a month. A monthly residential bill for 400 kWh increased by about $5 on Lanai and about $4.60 on Molokai.

Because the final rate is less than the interim amount Maui Electric charged for the past eight months, the utility plans to issue a one-time refund of $556,200 in June, or about $3 to each residential customer using the typical amount of electricity.

The 3.7% base rate increase would be less than half of a previous request for a 9.3% increase, equaling $30 million in revenue, filed in October 2017.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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