KIUC spokesman Jim Kelly noted that fuel oil costs continue to rise at more than $100 per barrel, motivating electric companies to adapt strategies, including using more renewable energy, to help keep bills down.
“I think the reason we’re moving so aggressively toward renewables is to try to take the volatility out of the bills that the customers get every month,” he said.
One of KIUC’s business-targeted programs, Commercial Demand Side Management, helps companies go green. Specialists conduct an energy analysis, finding ways tenants can reduce usage. Sometimes, businesses can even get financial help with the suggested upgrades.
“In some cases we can help pay for new equipment, as long as there is a pay-off,” Kelly said.
Hawaiian Electric, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (NYSE; HE), also offers a business-targeted energy-friendly program, called Fast Demand Response.
HECO spokesman Peter Rosegg said the program requires clients to remain “on-call” to reduce energy usage when grid stability is threatened.
A threat to grid stability would be any instance when supply and demand of electricity don’t match, or when renewable resources such as solar or wind energy unexpectedly drop – one of the downfalls of renewable energy.
The program reduces the need to use old generation plants, build new power plants, or issue rolling brownouts and blackouts, allowing HECO to avoid the heavy costs, inefficiency and bad business practice associated with those old solutions.
When the company calls a grid threat, clients may need to shut off lights, water features such as fountains in front of hotels, or extra elevators.
HECO will credit participating clients regardless if an event is called, with a financial incentive of $3,000 or more per year, according to the company’s website.
Pacific Business News by Jenna Blakely, General Assignment Reporter
Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012, 1:37pm HST