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Hawaiian Electric creates new department

The Maui News

Hawaiian Electric Cos. is creating a new Customer Energy Resources department to more effectively serve customers with rooftop solar and other devices that can interact with the electric grid, the company announced Friday.

The department will have personnel based on Maui, Oahu and Hawaii island.

Kaiulani Shinsato, Customer Energy Resources co-director for programs and policy, will oversee the new department alongside Yoh Kawanami, co-director for operations.

The efforts aim to streamline what was previously the work of two departments and encourage more customer and contractor participation.

“To reach our clean energy goals, we will need to at least double the 80,000 customer-sited rooftop solar systems in the next 25 years and see much higher customer participation directly or through aggregators in programs that provide incentives or different pricing to encourage customers to reduce or shift their electricity use to support the grid,” said Shelee Kimura, senior vice president for customer service.

With customers now able to add rooftop solar, energy storage, grid-interactive water heaters and electric vehicles, it made sense to unify and simplify customers’ interaction with the companies, Kimura said.

Early next year, the companies will publish a Customer Energy Resources Strategy that will lay out the policies and programs anticipated to meet customer needs in the near future.

For more information, visit www.mauielectric.com/products-and-services/customer-renewable-programs.