State briefs for April 23

Maui Electric rate increase approved

WAILUKU, Maui — The state Public Utilities Commission approved the first base-rate increase in six years by Maui Electric Co. Ltd., officials said.


The power company announced the 3.7% increase Friday and expects the change to generate $12.1 million in annual revenue.

The commission approved the base-rate increase last month. The final tariff and rate schedules and effective date remain subject to commission approval.

The updated rate filed April 17 would help pay for operational improvements, including system upgrades to increase reliability, improve customer service and integrate more renewable energy, the company said.

The utility will no longer pass on all fossil fuel costs. Instead, customers will pay 98%, with the remaining 2% paid by Maui Electric, up to a $633,000 cap, according to the company.

Honolulu officials approve tax break for homeowners

HONOLULU — Honolulu officials approved a bill that would lower property taxes by about $70 for most Oahu homeowners.

The Honolulu City Council voted unanimously for the bill last week despite Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration saying it would cause the city to lose more than $10 million in annual revenue.

The measure would raise the standard home exemption from $80,000 to $100,000, marking the first increase of the exemption since 2006. Properties where the owner also is the occupant are eligible for the exemption.


The bill also would increase the standard senior home exemption from $120,000 to $140,000. The exemption is available to owner-occupants who are 65 and older.

The mayor has until May 3 to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

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