Some Solar Customers Getting Burned in Limbo

NOAA

If you feel a twinge of resentment each time you pay your electricity bill each month, imagine how you’d feel if you had to pay it twice monthly.

That is pretty much what William Walker does. He pays Hawaiian Electric Co. about $250 a month and he pays $300 monthly installments for the new solar panels on his roof in Ewa.

Usually people pay a sizable bill to HECO or they invest in solar. So why is Walker doing both?

The answer is that his new rooftop panels aren’t generating any electricity so, while his solar payments were supposed to cancel out his normal electricity bill, he has to pay both. And since solar panels must be active for users to qualify for tax credits, he hasn’t gotten any help from either the state or federal government.

Walker isn’t alone — hundreds of Oahu customers have gotten burned in their transition to solar. They have gotten caught in limbo since September 6 when HECO changed the rules for connecting solar systems.

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