Hawaiian Electric says residential rates in Oahu fell in January for first time in four months; typical bill dropped to US$204 from US$219

HONOLULU , January 11, 2012 () – Hawaiian Electric Co. says residential electric rates on Oahu fell in January for the first time in four months.

But the utility says fuel prices will keep rates high in the near term.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/zOaoqT ) reported Wednesday HECO's residential rate fell to 32.6 cents per kilowatt-hour this month from a record-high 35.1 cents last month.

At this rate, the typical bill for customers using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month drops to about $204 from about $219.

HECO officials attributed the decline to the utility's ability to generate more electricity from lower-cost power plants.

Oahu's only coal-fired plant returned to full production in January after being partially out of service last month for maintenance.

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