Customers react to high HECO bills

Leilani Rasa
Leilani Rasa
Darren Pai
Darren Pai
Raymond Fukuhara
Raymond Fukuhara

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Hawaiian Electric, a steady stream of customers paid their electricity bills. Leilani Rasa got a jolt of sticker shock.

"It's like $100 more now," she said.

HECO said the typical monthly residential bill in November hit $215.81. That's $8.41 more than last month and the third record high since August.

"Unfortunately, we're seeing the impact of oil prices," HECO spokesman Darren Pai said. "Oil prices were extremely high earlier in the year and they're showing up on our customers electric bills."

HECO burns low sulfur fuel oil to generate electricity. That accounts for 60 percent of your bill. The utility said the oil is in high demand in Asia. What HECO pays is passed on to the consumer.

"They're raising the rates but our pay, my pay, is not going up. So how are we going to afford all this," Pearl City resident Raymond Fukuhara said.

"I try to use less electricity, open up windows, prop my door open," Britni Farias said.

HECO also attributes the increase to the time of year. Demand for electricity peaks in September and October when humidity is higher.

"People want to use the air conditioning more when it's hot and humid," Pai said. "Make sure that you're doing everything you can to turn off lights when you're not using a room. Simple little things like that can make a big difference over the course of a month or over the course of a year."

Rasa said she'll adjust to try to lower her bill.

"Turn off everything. Unplug a lot of things. Make sure the computer's off. Make sure the children turn off all the lights," she said.

HECO said it can't predict what the electricity rate will be next month.

We'll find out soon enough.

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