Hawaiian Electric Companies propose voluntary time-of-use rates

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have proposed to expand their time-of-use rate options.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company proposed new voluntary time-of-use rates for residential customers that encourage the use of power during mid-day and off-peak hours, or times when solar and wind resources are most productive.

The utility says these proposed rates can help customers gain more control over their electric bills, support increased use of renewable energy, and promote the adoption of new technologies such as energy storage and electric vehicles.

In addition, the Companies proposed revised time-of-use rates for electric vehicle (EV) charging aimed at continuing to support the growing EV market.

These new options would complement the new, lower day-time electric rates for the Hawaii Department of Education proposed last week by the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

The DOE rates could help public schools manage their electricity costs as they add more air conditioning and cooling equipment, while also using renewable energy that is available during day-time hours.

“We want to give our customers options to help them manage their bills and encourage the use of more low cost renewable energy,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “Rate options like these can give customers choices and help us collectively achieve our state’s 100 percent renewable portfolio standards goal.”

Before any of these rates can be offered to customers, they must be reviewed and approved by the PUC, with input from the Hawaii Division of Consumer Advocacy and other parties in the distributed energy resources proceeding.

Residential customers

Residential time-of-use rates would be most beneficial for customers who are able to use more electricity during the middle of the day until 4 p.m. – for example, to wash and dry clothes, wash dishes, charge an electric vehicle, for cooking, or to cool the house. Next best would be to move some energy usage to after midnight, for example by using timers to do laundry, run dishwashers or to charge an electric vehicle.

Actual savings will depend on how much customers are able to change their use patterns to the middle of the day when the amount of solar power is greatest or to overnight hours when wind farms are typically productive and to help avoid the need to run additional utility generators to meet the evening peak demand. This will help reduce the state’s reliance on oil and make the most efficient use of renewable resources.

In addition, customers with energy storage systems can store lower-cost energy generated by their rooftop PV systems during the day and then use some of that stored power to meet some of their needs during the evening peak period. This can help customers better manage their bills and maximize their investment in their rooftop PV and energy storage systems.

Based on current fuel prices and other surcharges, if the proposed rates were effective today, they would be as follows:

Effective Residential Time-of-Use Rates – Nov. 2015 Oahu Hawaii Maui Molokai Lanai
Mid-day 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 13.4 ¢/kWh 17.2 ¢/kWh 17.1 ¢/kWh 21.6 ¢/kWh 26.5 ¢/kWh
Off-Peak Midnight-9 a.m. 16.0 ¢/kWh 19.3 ¢/kWh 20.2 ¢/kWh 21.6 ¢/kWh 25.7 ¢/kWh
On-Peak 4 p.m.–Midnight 38.5 ¢/kWh 47.9 ¢/kWh 39.0 ¢/kWh 44.8 ¢/kWh 42.3 ¢/kWh
Effective Residential Non Time-of-Use Rates – Nov. 2015 24.4 ¢/kWh 30.3 ¢/kWh 26.3 ¢/kWh 30.7 ¢/kWh 32.2 ¢/kWh

Electric Vehicles

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are also proposing to revise existing time-of-use rates for electric vehicles to allow customers to select options that best suit their needs. The revised proposal includes:

  • A revised “whole house” rate that would include EV charging along with all of the electricity use measured by a single electric meter at a customer’s home;
  • A revised rate for customers who have a separate electric meter just for charging electric vehicles.

For both EV rate options, the Companies propose a mid-day period of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., an on-peak period of 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and an off-peak period of 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., every day.

The residential and EV time-of-use proposals were submitted as part of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s ongoing review of distributed energy resource programs.

“This is another step toward offering customers more choices. As we move ahead, we want to ensure these programs can be successful and benefit all customers. So we will monitor these programs closely to determine if any adjustments are needed over time,” Alberts said.

Graphic: Hawaiian Electric Company
Graphic: Hawaiian Electric Company

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