Rise of electric bills double average rate
HONOLULU - Hawaii's electric bills rose at nearly double the national rate from 2000 to 2010.
Electricity costs in Hawaii topped the nation at 25.1 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2010. That's up nearly 80 percent from just over 14 cents a kilowatt-hour in 2000.
Nationally, the average price of electricity rose just over 40 percent during the same 10 years, to 9.83 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The figures come from a report released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal agency that gathers and analyzes information about energy.
The state's two electric utilities, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, have attributed rising electric rates largely to higher fuel costs.
Wyoming had the lowest retail rates for electricity in the country in 2010 at 6.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. Most electricity generated in Wyoming comes from coal.
Site allows users to test Internet speeds
HONOLULU - Hawaii is launching a new website that will allow users to test their own Internet connection speeds as well as help the state identify and close gaps in broadband Internet service.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie's office said Tuesday data collected from the project at hawaiispeedtest.net will give the state an estimate of current Internet connection speeds around the islands.
The administration last year announced a plan to make Hawaii's Internet connections 200 times faster over the next seven years.
The plan aims to ensure Hawaii has world-class broadband service at affordable prices, and that even the most remote areas have equitable access.
The administration also hopes to promote a system of regulations and permits that supports investment in broadband infrastructure.
Internet tracking bill killed in state House
HONOLULU - A controversial bill that would have required Internet service providers to track all their Hawaii customers' Web use is dead.
House Bill 2288 was deferred last week by a state House committee. Its author, Rep. John Mizuno, doesn't want to see it resurface.
The measure mandated that ISPs must keep records of all subscriber data and Internet activity for at least two years. The bill received almost no support aside from law enforcement. It was tabled by committee members who opted to leave the legislation to Congress.
Mizuno issued a statement Tuesday saying he had reviewed thousands of emails and hundreds of phone calls on the matter. He recommended the bill be killed for 2012.
A Senate version of the legislation has not been scheduled for a hearing.
State issues permits for seawater cooling
HONOLULU - A Hawaii company that plans to pump cold water from the ocean to air-condition downtown Honolulu office buildings has received a state permit to build a pumping and cooling station.
The permit also allows Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC to install underground piping in Kakaako.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that it received the special management area permit from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The company expects to break ground the first half of the year.
CEO William Mahlum says being granted the permit is a "major milestone" for the energy project.
Last year, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources granted the company a conservation district use permit to build and operate the offshore portion of the system.