HECO plans credits for low-income customers - Pacific Business News (Honolulu):
Hawaiian Electric Co. has proposed raising rates on all customers to help cut the electric bills of low-income households.
The utility filed an application Thursday with the state Public Utilities Commission to offer so-called “lifeline rates” in the form of fixed monthly bill credits to qualifying families.
The proposed credit amounts are: $25 on Oahu, $30 on Maui, and $35 on the Big Island, Molokai and Lanai.
All ratepayers would pay a monthly surcharge to cover the cost of the credit program.
If approved, the surcharge for a typical monthly residential electric bill is estimated to be up to 31 cents on Oahu; up to 77 cents in Maui County; and up to $1.54 on the Big Island.
“We started developing this proposal late last year, but it’s especially timely now given the economic challenges our community is facing, and the need to help those most vulnerable,” Dick Rosenblum, HECO’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
The credits would be available to customers currently enrolled in one of three government assistance programs: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income.
HECO committed to develop the program as part of an energy agreement signed in October 2008 with the state as part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
I know it is just 31 cents on Oahu, but it is the principle of the matter. Do we have any say in what policies natural monopolies are enacting. I guess they can use the political swing to their advantage whenever they see fit.