HECO says it will seek rate hike

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Electric Co. said it plans to seek a rate increase for its 300,000 customers on Oahu. It's the company's first base-rate hike request in six years.

In an ad in the Sunday newspaper, HECO CEO Alan Oshima said costs for providing electric service has gone up since 2011.

"Our company has absorbed a large portion of these increased costs without passing them on to you," he said.

He didn't say how much of a rate increase the company would seek but he did say that lower fuel prices and recent company cost containment would likely offset some of the increases.

"(The) typical residential electrical bill would be less than the average bill last year," he said.

Consumer rights advocate Henry Curtis said the state Public Utilities Commission would be reluctant to approve any steep rate hike.

"We have traditionally, the highest rates in the nation ... We have very high rates and we have to do something to lower them," said Curtis, who heads Life of the Land.

Heco will file its new rate case by the end of the year. If approved it won't go likely go into effect until the second half of next year.

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