New charge is being used to boost MECO revenues

All the recent stories have been about the rate increase that Maui Electric Co. was granted in June 2012. The Public Utilities Commission has decided that MECO doesn’t need all this increase, and wants MECO to refund some of it to us. MECO, of course, doesn’t want to give it back and has asked the PUC to reconsider.

While all this has been going on, there was another rate increase that no attention has been given to and that MECO will not have to give back – ever. There is a new charge on your bill that has never been there before but will now appear every month. It’s innocuously called the “RBA Rate Adjustment,” which translates to “Revenue Balancing Account.”

Despite the efforts of MECO to limit the amount of renewable energy being installed (particularly residential photovoltaic), it seems that enough people are still doing it such that it results in a loss of revenue to MECO. The RBA is used to bring MECO’s revenues back to where they would have been if this pesky renewable power had not been installed.

With ever-increasing amounts of renewable energy reducing MECO’s revenue, the RBA adjustment has nowhere to go but up. You can get out from under this by installing your own PV system and letting everyone else pay the RBA rate adjustment – unless, of course, your area is already saturated, in which case you’re stuck with the RBA adjustment, which is a result of everyone else’s PV system.

Seem fair?

William Monroe