Governor Ige passed Ratepayer Relief Act

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Will Giese

(808) 232-8371

NEWS Release


April 25th, 2018

Governor Ige sign Performance Based Ratemaking bill into law, makes Hawaii only state with PBR in statute.

HONOLULU – Today, Governor David Ige signed into law SB2939 of the 29th Hawaii State Legislature. SB2939, also known as the Performance Based Ratemaking bill, further aligns utility ratemaking processes with state’s renewable energy goals. Hawaii will be the first state to have performance based ratemaking mechanisms in statute, making it one of the most progressive states for energy policy.

“Performance based ratemaking is where the rubber meets the road for bleeding edge energy policy,” says Will Giese, HSEA Executive Director. “If the 2045 Renewable Portfolio Standard was the vehicle to a clean energy future, then PBR is the engine that will get us there.”

Variations on this bill have been heard at the legislator for over five years, and the PUC recently opened a docket to “investigate the economic and policy issues associated with performance-based regulation.”[1] The preamble to SB2939 specifically references the Hawaii PUC’s “Inclinations on the Future of the Electric Utility”[2] as a guiding document for the language of the bill.

“This is truly transformational energy policy,” says HSEA President Brian Gold, “HSEA is proud to have been involved and looks forward to working with all parties to continue the push to 100% renewable energy.”

Per the language of SB2939, the Hawaii PUC is required to establish performance incentives and penalty mechanisms by January 1, 2020 that directly tie an electric utility’s “revenues to that utility's achievement on performance metrics and break the direct link between allowed revenues and investment levels.”[3] Some of the performance metrics include affordability of electric rates, electric service reliability, and rapid integration of renewable energy services, among others.

“This bill is a big win for local consumers who will pay less for better electric service with more options for home solar and energy storage,” says Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the Environmental and Energy Committee, “It’s also a big win for utilities transitioning to a sustainable business model that can survive disruption in the energy sector.”

“If you were wondering how we get more renewables, cheaper electric bills, and better utility grid reliability, this is it,” says Will Giese, “This is a landmark piece of energy policy and it is totally in line with the Governor’s vision of a clean, sustainable Hawai’i.”

SB2939 was passed unanimously by the Hawaii State House and Senate. A diverse group of stakeholders supported the bill, including The Sierra Club of Hawai’i, Blue Planet Foundation, The Alliance for Solar Choice, Organizing for Action, 350 Hawaii, and numerous individuals. The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2018.


Founded in 1977, the Hawaii Solar Energy Association is a Non-Profit organization and is comprised of installers, distributors, manufacturers, auditors, and financiers of solar water heating and photovoltaic systems. The majority of our member companies are locally owned and operated, making HSEA the leading voice of Hawaii’s solar industry.

[1] Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, Docket No. 2018-0088, Decision and Order No. 35411, 4/18/2018.

[2] SB2939 The Senate, 29th State Legislature, State of Hawaii, page 1, lines 1-12.

[3] SB2939 The Senate, 29th State Legislature, State of Hawaii, page 5, lines 6-15.

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