HECO powers up plan to give discount rate on electric bills - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HECO powers up plan to give discount rate on electric bills

Candace Kelsey Candace Kelsey
Steve Kelsey Steve Kelsey

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

EWA BEACH (KHNL) - There's a plan in the works that would help people on Oahu get discount rates on their electricity bills. Under the program, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) would charge customers less if they use power during off-peak hours.

HECO already tested the program at a neighborhood in Ewa Beach. Now, as part of the state's Clean Energy Initiative, the power company wants to expand it island-wide.

Chopper 8 above Ocean Pointe in Ewa Beach, where the key to toughing it out on electricity bills may lie.

"In 2006, it was $257, now we pay, this month's bill was $536, which is crazy," said Candace Kelsey, an Ocean Pointe resident.

The Kelsey family is one of the Ocean Pointe households that volunteered to take part in a 6-month pilot program. They had advanced meters that monitored electric use during high, mid, and off-peak hours. HECO charged about $.15 per kilowatt during high peak, $.13 during mid, and $.8 off-peak, plus fuel costs.

"I made a real conscious effort in doing everything at 9:00 p.m. - load the dishwasher but start it after 9:00 p.m., same thing with all the laundry," said Kelsey.

Here's how the advanced meters clock usage:

High peak hours are 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. weekdays, mid-peak is 7:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. weekdays and 7:00 am to 9:00 p.m. on weekends, and off-peak hours are 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m daily.

"Don't think it's going to automatically save you money. You don't want to think that. You have to think about what your consumption usage is and your patterns of usage and whether you're really able to adjust your behavior," said Candace's husband, Steve Kelsey.

"It took a little time because then I have to maybe stay up a little later to dry my laundry, make sure it's washing and drying but other than that, I felt it was worth it," said Candace.

And in these tough economic times, the Kelsey's say having the power to save money on electric bills would be a big help.

"I'd definitely sign up for it again," said Steve.

The Public Utilities Commission still needs to review and approve the program. So until that happens, HECO won't know when it can install the advanced meters.

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