Maui Electric Requests Rate Increase To Support Renewable Energy

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Maui Electric (MECO), subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (HEI), has filed a request for a rate increase with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for Maui County customers in 2012. MECO says the increase would cover the cost of improvements to integrate additional renewable energy and improve the reliability of service to Maui, Lanai and Molokai customers.

If approved, the request would result in an increase of 6.7%, or $27.5 million, in net revenues. Any increase, if granted, would not go into effect until mid-2012 at the earliest.

‘It is critical that we continue to make investments that will enable us to add more clean energy to our grid and ensure service that our customers can continue to count on,’ says Ed Reinhardt, president of MECO.

More than 15% of the electricity sold by MECO in 2010 came from renewable sources. In addition, more than 1,200 wind and solar systems have been installed under the company's net energy metering program. MECO also plans to begin integrating an additional 21 MW of wind energy from the new Kaheawa Wind Power II project in early 2012.

The requested increase would help cover the operations and maintenance costs of safely and reliably integrating existing and future renewable energy resources into MECO's three isolated island electrical grids, according to the utility. Also included are energy-storage projects, which will help integrate higher levels of variable resources, such as wind and solar power.

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