What’s ahead in 2021
by Robert Yang | Jan. 12, 2021
Now that 2020 is history, like many of you I’m excited about the possibilities of 2021. And so is Hawaiian Electric. Sure, the year 2020 brought challenges like no other in recent history. As a result, we’ve all had to adapt to the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic — and keep moving forward.
Nearly half of our Hawaiian Electric workforce now teleworks from home. Crews altered their routines to incorporate new safety protocols and social distancing in order to get meters read and island grids upgraded. Work got done so that we could serve our customers and do our part to help rebuild the state’s economy.
On the renewable energy front, we’re looking forward to launching the second phase of Community-Based Renewable Energy — Hawaiian Electric’s shared solar program. Residents and businesses unable to install rooftop solar — including renters and condominium dwellers — would be able to share an interest in a solar development on their island. As a subscriber, the customer gets credit for a share of the electricity generated by that project, reducing their monthly electric bill. We’ll let you know more about this program in the coming months.
2021 marks 100 years of serving our customers in Maui County. Be sure to follow our social media channels so you don’t miss out on any pandemic-friendly activities that we may announce to celebrate the upcoming anniversary.
Later this year, we’ll be launching an online outage map for Hawaii Island. Customers on Hawaii island will be able to access the map on our website or through the Hawaiian Electric mobile app. They’ll be able to get information about known outages — including the areas affected and number of customers without power.
Electric vehicle (EV) adoption will continue to increase this year, especially with newer EV options available on the market. You can expect more DC fast chargers on our islands to make public charging more readily available. Also, new all-electric buses or eBuses will be hitting the streets on Oahu this year. We have a current proposal for an eBus Make-Ready Infrastructure Pilot Project, which is under review by regulators. If approved, we will be able to install, own and maintain electrical equipment and wiring to support eBus charging beyond the fleet operator’s meter. This would allow us to further grow the charging infrastructure for Hawaii’s fleet of eBuses, public and private. Be prepared to see more eBuses on our streets for all the islands we serve.
Hawaiian Electric will continue to focus on helping residents and local businesses through the pandemic. Our business account managers and customer service teams worked to get thousands of customers on payment arrangement plans, as well as find ways for them to reduce energy usage and tap into financial assistance programs.
As someone who grew up around locally owned businesses, I’m aware of the trials and tribulations that owners face. During a pandemic, I can only imagine how much more challenging it is for them. In 2021, I would love for us to highlight these locally owned businesses and help share their energy-saving tips and stories to help other businesses during this difficult time.
At Hawaiian Electric, we’re even more committed to serving our customers proudly while becoming the most progressive energy company out there, pandemic or not. And I’m happy to be a part of the journey to get there!
Robert Yang is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.