strategic plan

Hawaiian Electric Companies have filed an appeal with the Public Utilities Commission to start phase 1 of the grid modernisation initiative.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light want to deploy advanced meters, meter data management systems and a telecommunications network commencing 2019 until 2023, at an estimated cost of $86.3 million.

The advanced meters will allow accurate energy billing, enhance sensing and reliability purposes and enable customers to take advantage of new private rooftop solar programmes, as well as variable rates offered in distributed energy resources and demand response programmes.

The MDM system will store meter data and allow it to be directed to an online portal where consumers can access it to improve their daily energy usage.

The MDM system will help consumers on the five Hawaiian islands to reduce their bills.

The telecommunications network will replace current cellular networks and will allow wireless, fast and secure two way-communication between the utility and advanced meters, distribution sensors, control and automation devices.

The project forms part of efforts by the energy companies to prepare their grid networks for an expansion in renewable energy portfolios.

If approved, phase 1 of the grid modernisation plan will result in an increase in consumer bills by 24 cents in Oahu; Maui and Molokai-34 cents, Lanai-27 cents and Hawaii Island by 55 cents.

Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric CEO, commented: "Upgrading the grids so that customers have more cost-saving options is a high priority for our companies.

"Integrating the latest technologies in phases allows the companies to keep options open for future innovation and, more importantly, minimises the impact on customer bills."