Smart meters part of agreement for Hawaii’s energy future


Linda Lingle,
Governor of
Honolulu, Hawaii — (METERING.COM) — November 4, 2008 – The deployment of advanced meters and implementation of time-of-use rates are among the measures contained in a comprehensive agreement between the state government and the Hawaiian Electric companies (HECO) aimed at moving the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and ground transportation.

The agreement, concluded after months of work between the parties, seeks to move Hawaii toward having 70 percent of its energy use come from clean energy sources – and 40 percent of its electric power from renewable resources – by 2030. It will reduce by many years the process of moving the state forward to a clean energy-driven economy by accelerating regulatory changes.

In terms of the agreement Hawaiian Electric will apply to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by November 30, 2008, for immediate approval to begin installing, on a first-come, first-served basis, advanced meters for all customers that request them. The application will also seek expedited approval to fully implement time-of-use rates on an interim basis for the customers requesting the installation of advanced meters. Unless the PUC identifies a compelling reason to do otherwise, all customers having advanced meters will be given the utility time-of-use or dynamic rate options and shall have to affirmatively opt out of the rate option.

By December 31, 2008, Hawaiian Electric will file a full application to install advanced meters to remaining customers and the communication and meter data management system. Upon approval, AMI will be implemented as quickly as possible, along with proposals for time-of-use rates and customer electricity pricing information that facilitate substantive customer understanding and energy use management.

In parallel demand response and load management programs and other energy efficiency measures will also be introduced, with the aim of ensuring that Hawaii achieves the maximum possible levels of energy efficiency.

The agreement commits to integrate as much as 1,100 MW of already identified additional renewable energy on the HECO grids, of which 700 MW is to be implemented within five years. Among the measures to support this, a “feed-in” tariff system will be designed to dramatically accelerate the addition of renewable energy from new sources by providing published purchased power prices for renewable power providers, and existing system-wide caps on net energy metering will be eliminated.

There will also be changes to the way Hawaiian Electric is compensated by moving away from a business model that places reliance on increased electric sales, and a program will be put in place to identify and implement incentives to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

“This is a detailed plan to implement the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative with sweeping changes that are needed to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuel and to achieve a more secure energy and economic future,” said Hawaii governor Linda Lingle. “I feel strongly that the state and our major utility can and must continue finding common ground in moving forward and taking decisive and bold steps toward an energy-independent Hawaii.”

“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this critical effort,” said Constance Lau, chairman of the HECO board. “We are committed to making these plans a reality and working together with the state to achieve a more secure, economically viable and environmentally responsible energy future for Hawaii.”

While this agreement is with the Hawaiian Electric utilities, the state and the consumer advocate are also working separately with Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). Kaua‘i has unique energy issues including a utility cooperative status, the existing grid lay-out, and limits to some renewable energy choices due to threatened and endangered avian populations which compel a separate agreement. KIUC and the U.S. Department of Energy are also working to model the KIUC grid to better understand the electricity choices available to Kaua‘i.