Updated: September 29, 2022
Hawaiian Electric residential customers may be receiving higher bills for May than the previous month. The company outlined several reasons electric bills may be higher including the following:
- For the safety of customers and our workforce and to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community, the company announced in late March that it would scale back meter reading temporarily. As a result, bills were estimated based on each customer’s respective usage in the prior month.
- As a result of “working together to minimize the spread,” Hawaiian Electric was able to safely restart meter reading in May, according to the company. Customers are now receiving “true-up bills” that reflect the amount of electricity actually used. For accounts that reduced energy use during the pandemic, the true-up bill will account for any overestimation from the prior estimated bill. For accounts that increased energy usage, the true-up bill will account for any underestimation from the prior estimated bill.
- Stay-at-home orders resulted in many residents using more electricity in March, April and part of May – air conditioners, computers, lights, appliances – because they didn’t go out for school, work and weekend activities, according to the company. On average, residential customers used about 13 percent more electricity, with above-average users consuming as much as 17 percent more. Depending on the individual customer’s use, the increase could be more or less.
“Lower oil prices mean lower electric rates this summer and should help offset higher usage, depending on how efficiently customers manage their use of air conditioners and other appliances,” according to Hawaiian Electric. Tips are available here. Hawaiʻi Energy also offers tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services.
Hawaiian Electric encourages customers who are having a difficult time paying a higher true-up bill to contact customer service so that a payment arrangement can be made to help smooth the payment of that bill over more than one month. No late fees or interest will apply at this time.
While customers are responsible for paying for their bills, there are options available to help keep accounts current.
The quickest option is to fill out a Payment Arrangement Request Form. Those with concerns or questions may also contact customer service representatives by calling the phone number listed on the company website or on the bill.
Service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through June 30, but customers should not wait until then to contact Hawaiian Electric if they are experiencing financial strain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.