HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some residential electric customers on Oahu got sticker shock when they opened their power bills over the last few months. A few even claim their bills doubled or tripled between October and December.
And a few customers said they have photovoltaic systems that draw energy from the sun. They’re supposed to save on energy costs, but those savings disappeared.
“It was a huge selling factor for us to know that our home came equipped with 30 panels,” said Chad LaHousse, who moved into an Ewa Beach home in September. “We heard stories that our bill would be the minimum $30 a month or whatever it is.”
Instead, LaHousse’s monthly bills have topped $200.
Jesse Sacayanan also has solar panels. He saw his power bill jump from just under $20 a month during the summer to more than a hundred dollars.
“I think last month I hit 120, and I never hit a hundred in the eight years I’ve been here, so something’s going on,” he said.
According to Hawaiian Electric Company, that something is cloudy weather during September and October, which affected solar energy systems.
“It’s cloudy out, and you have to recognize that your production is going to be lower, and that you’ll be using more electricity from the utility,” said HECO spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan.
She also says humidity played a role.
“What we were seeing was a jump in people using their electricity because they were running their A/Cs all day, all night.”
Tangonan said the utility saw the highest residential usage in five years for the average customer in October.
Not everyone is buying the explanation.
“I don’t run anything during the day except my refrigerator and my wi-fi,” said LaHousse. “Everything is off, the A/C’s off. Everything.”
“They’re saying like ‘humidity, cloudy,’ and it just — it doesn’t seem right,” said Sacayanan. “I don’t know. It seems like an excuse.”