- Hawaiian Electric Cos. (HECO) has filed its grid modernization plan with state regulators, requesting permission to install more than 455,000 smart meters on Oahu, Hawaii Island and in Maui County.
- HECO estimated the Smart Grid Foundation Project will cost approximately $340 million, but told regulators it is a "key building block" of grid modernization and will help Hawaii meet its 100% renewables mandate, the Associated Press reports.
- If approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, smart meter installation could begin in 2017 on Oahu and 2018 on Hawaii Island and in Maui County. HECO said the meters would help restore outages faster, give customers more information about their usage, and make the grid more efficient.
Hawaiian Electric had delayed filing its smart grid implementation plan during the hearings about the $4.3 billion takeover by NextEra amid doubt from regulators that NextEra Florida subsidiary's history with solar would hurt Hawaii's push for 100% renewables by 2045.
NextEra's Hawaii President Eric Gleason told the PUC commissioners last year that Florida Power & Light's $800 million smart meter program – one of the first in the country – demonstrate FPL's and NextEra's committment to Hawaii's renewables goals.
HECO describes a "modern wireless communication network, smart meters and enhanced technology that will upgrade the existing electric grid to be more automated and energy efficient." The new meters will help improve outage detection and restoration, as well as giving customers more information about their electricity usage to help manage their bills. Meter reads and move-in/move-out requests could also be automated.
"Modernizing our electric grid is a critical part of our commitment to better serve our customers and achieve a clean energy future for Hawaii," Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO, said in a statement. "This investment will lay the technological foundation to enable us to provide our customers with better service, more options to manage their bills, more renewable energy and other services in the future."