Hawaii PUC approves utilities’ plan to reinforce grid “backbone”


On February 7, the PUC issued an order accepting the HECO companies’ proposed updated Grid Modernization Strategy, authorizing and requiring HECO to implement the Strategy. The PUC found that the Strategy complies with the commission’s high-level expectations, previously expressed in a separate order:

“A modernized grid is the ‘backbone’ necessary to advance the State’s RPS goals, support integration of additional levels of renewables, encourage competition, empower consumers to make their own choices concerning the level and types of electric service they desire, and leverage customer-sited resources to assist in grid operation.”

The Strategy approved by the PUC includes plans for a near-term grid modernization roadmap, and an approach for integrated grid planning, among other things. The PUC also directed the HECO companies to use best practices for distribution planning identified in other jurisdiction, such as California and New York. The companies also must use a Value of Service (VoS) approach when analyzing grid needs, and continue to use VoS as a foundational component of future planning and procurement.