Maui electric bills have gone up due to the higher cost of wind power, a utility representative said.
Many Maui consumers saw their bill increase by about $7.03 from March to April, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2plHEP9 ).
The company's switch from dependency on utility-owned fossil fuel plants to drawing power from wind facilities caused the rate to go up, Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Shannon Tangonan said Wednesday.
In March, the proportion of wind energy used to generate electricity on Maui was about 25 percent. In April, it was 41 percent, she said.
"Right now the cost of wind energy is higher than the cost of oil-generated electricity, Tangonan said. "In months when the proportion of wind energy increases, as it did in April, the Maui bills may increase."
Maui Electric Co. paid about 13 cents a kilowatt-hour for its oil-powered plants in April. The average price for wind energy on Maui is about 19 cents a kilowatt-hour.
The utility has 20-year contracts with three wind power facilities on Maui — Kaheawa Wind Farm I, Kaheawa Wind Farm II and Auwahi Wind Farm — that they must buy wind energy from.
Oahu consumers say they also saw a slight raise in their electric bills.
The Oahu increases are due to higher fuel prices, Tangonan said.