HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last time Hawaiian Electric Co's 300,000 residential and business customers saw a rate decrease, George H.W. Bush was president and gasoline cost about $1.20 a gallon.
The Public Utilities Commission today approved a .04 percent rate cut, which will lower the monthly bills for the average household by about 76 cents.
The decrease, the first since 1989, also wipes out last month's 2.3 percent, interim rate hike, which increased average residential bills by $2.60.
"It's always good to see something go down. How much it will go down we'll see but it's a positive," said Leonard Kam, owner of Alicias Market in Kalihi, where the monthly energy bill is about $5,000.
PUC Chair Randy Iwase said HECO is saving tens of millions of dollars because of the Trump Tax plan -- savings that will be passed on to consumers.
"The federal Tax Reform Act, which dropped the corporate tax rate for HECO from 35 percent to 21 percent … meant they would be collecting too much money," he said.
Iwase said HECO's sister companies, Maui Electric Co. and the Hawaii Electric Light Co., also have pending rate increase proposals. But he thinks the lower taxes will mean lower rates there as well.