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Electric Rates Going Up and Up and Up and Up…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It seems like we post something about the rising electricity rates here in Hawaii every week, doesn’t it? Let’s have a look at the coverage of Hawaii’s ever-increasing rates over just the last six months, and just from the Star-Advertiser:

Here is Tuesday’s article excerpted in full for your convenience:

HECO residential rates on the rise

Residential electricity rates on Oahu rose to the highest level in 2 1⁄2 years in May as rising fuel prices pushed up generation costs for Hawaiian Electric Co.

Rates on Maui and Hawaii island also increased.

HECO said a typical 600-kilowatt-hour bill rose to $188.88 in May from $181.44 in April.The last time Oahu electric bills were this high was in November 2008 when a 600-kilowatt bill was $182.01.

Crude oil futures were $115 a barrel on May 1, about 35 percent higher than they were six months earlier. Crude oil futures traded at a record $147 a barrel in the summer of 2008.

The effective rate for electricity in Honolulu is 30.1 cents per kilowatt-hour in May, up from 28.9 cents last month.

Elsewhere in the state:

» Maui Electric Co. customers saw rates rise to 35.9 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from April’s 34.1 cents. The typical Maui bill rose by $10.68 to $223.21.

» Hawaii island residential rates rose to 42.40 cents a kilowatt-hour from last month’s 38.2 cents. The typical bill rose by $25.55 to $265.96.

» On Kauai the rate rose to 44.27 cents per kilowatt-hour. Last month the rate charged by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was 42.63 cents per kilowatt-hour.

But don’t let the recent coverage give you the impression that we’re merely experiencing a temporary rise in prices — this isn’t a recent issue. Hawaii is the most oil-dependent state in the country. Over 90% of our electricity is petroleum-derived, and the majority of our petroleum is imported. With shipping costs ever on the rise and the compounding effects of rising gas prices, Hawaii has the highest electric rates in the nation.

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