Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - by Alex Tiller Last month, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a new plan to encourage greater energy efficiency beginning in 2011. Known as “decoupling,” this new plan essentially breaks the link between utility company earnings and electricity consumption.
On the surface, decoupling seems like a good thing — state utility companies such as Hawaiian Electric Co. can promote energy efficiency and conservation (offering incentives for upgrading to more efficient appliances, for example) without losing money when consumers use less electricity. But, what most consumers don’t yet realize is that decoupling will almost certainly make electricity more expensive and cause energy bills to rise.
The reason for this is simple. To decouple earnings from energy consumption, utilities need to pass more of their fixed operating costs onto consumers. The PUC determines how much utilities can raise rates if profits fall below a certain point, and whether utilities can charge a flat monthly fee to cover some of their costs. Several states, including California, Idaho, Vermont, and New York, have already adopted decoupling, and have seen energy consumption decrease substantially.
Still, consumers (as opposed to utility company shareholders) are footing the bill for this conservation. California’s per capita energy consumption is now the third-lowest in the country, but electricity rates have risen more than 25 percent in California since decoupling was first introduced in 1982.
Low risk, better place to park your money and earn a decent divvy than in a bank.
Majority of state utility companies worth the gamble earning at least 4%, if you can tolerate the ups and down, have some spare cash around.
Some fear HE will have to cut the divvy and stock goes crashing. They said this last year -but was the greatest opportnity for capital gain as HE could be bought at <14, or add to your position. Once in a lifetime!