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Poor reliability can mean fines for HECO

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Officials with the Public Utilities Commission want to hold Hawaiian Electric accountable as companies file their claims following the power outage on Thursday, June 13.

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The nine-hour outage in downtown Honolulu was concerning, according to the state agency that oversees Hawaiian Electric, and they will closely investigate HECO’s investigation.

“And what that means for us is we will be asking questions of HECO to try to determine the root cause of what caused this outage,” said PUC Communications Officer Deborah Kwan. “If we get that information from them, we can get a more complete picture and ask them to report on what they are doing to prevent things from happening in the future.”

The PUC has performance-based regulations to hold HECO accountable for reliability by incentivizing the utility when performance is good and imposing penalties when it is not.

“They measure this over a year, and in that year they can give them incentives or penalties, including financial penalties,” Kwan said. “If we have their data on their attrition and we can see that they have fallen behind on those performance measures at the end of the year when they calculate that, we can impose a penalty for that.”

“But there are things the PUC is doing to hold HECO accountable for service reliability.”

Deborah Kwan, communications officer for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

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The PUC has three commissioners appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. KHON2 reached out to Governor Josh Green and his office said the following in a statement:

“It is already part of the PUC’s mission, in accordance with state law, to hold HECO accountable for providing reliable electricity to residents, regardless of who appoints the commissioners,” Gov. Josh Green’s office said.