Report: Kaua’i’s June electric rates highest in state

Kaua’i residents paid the highest electricity price in the state during the month of June, according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s first-ever energy trends report issued yesterday.

The report states that Kaua’i residents were charged $0.466 per kilowatt hour in June, compared to $0.297 per kilowatt hour for Honolulu residents.

The statewide average residential rate was $0.333 per kilowatt hour, about 2 cents more than a year ago.

Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative tends to have higher rates than other Hawai’i utilities because the co-op does not burn coal or heavy oils such as bunker fuel, which are cheaper than diesel or naptha.

In addition, Kaua’i has fewer customers to share the costs of power generation, and the island is still paying for post-Hurricane ‘Iniki infrastructure repairs, Randy Hee, KIUC president and chief executive, said yesterday.

The actual KIUC residential effective rate in June was slightly lower than reported by the state, at $0.439 per kilowatt hour. In July rates increased to $0.471, followed by another jump in August to $0.492, the highest on record.

Hee said at the co-op’s monthly board meeting last week that rates should decline in September due to a drop in fuel costs.

The energy trends report, to be published monthly, will provide a regular look at energy and oil prices, as well as consumption as the state moves toward its clean energy goals.

“As the most oil-dependent state in the U.S., Hawai’i is facing a great challenge in dealing with rising energy prices,” DBEDT Director Theodore E. Liu said. “The monthly energy data will help policymakers and the general public monitor and understand the demand and supply side of our energy. By continuing to track the data into the future, we can see how well we are progressing toward the 70 percent renewable energy target by 2030.”

Other highlights from the recent report include:

• Crude oil price at the New York Mercantile Exchange in July 2008 averaged $133.5 per barrel, and registered an 80 percent increase from the same month a year ago.

• The statewide regular unleaded gasoline price for July 2008 averaged $4.471 per gallon, a 36 percent increase from the same period last year. The same grade of gasoline cost more on Maui at $4.694 per gallon, and cost $4.511 on the Big Island and $4.377 on O’ahu in July 2008.

• Gasoline consumption during the first half of 2008 decreased by 7 percent as compared with the same period last year.

• Hawai’i imported 19.4 million barrels of crude oil from foreign countries during the first half of 2008, a 15.4 percent drop from the same period a year ago.

• As of August 2008, Hawai’i has 974,873 gasoline passenger vehicles registered, a 0.5 percent increase from a year ago.

• In June 2008, the state had 409,701 residential electricity customers, a 0.1 percent decrease from last June.

• Total electricity sales statewide reached 5.1 billion kilowatt hours during the first half of 2008, a 0.7 percent decrease from the same period last year.

To view the full report, visit http://www.hawaii.gov/dbedt

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