The Commission is responsible for regulating all chartered, franchised, certificated, and registered public utility companies that provide electricity, gas, telecommunications, private water and sewage, and motor and water carrier transportation services in the State. The Commission has statutory authority to establish and enforce applicable state statutes, administrative rules and regulations, and to set policies and standards. It also oversees the administration of a One Call Center that provides advance warning to excavators of the location of subsurface installations in the area of an excavation in order to protect those installations from damage; and the Public Benefits Fee surcharge which is used to fund
and support energy efficiency programs and services implemented by an independent third party administrator on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii.
Public utilities, like the customers they serve and the society and economy in which they operate, continue to undergo significant changes due to rapid developments in technology, markets, economic conditions, consumer needs and environmental concerns. The Commission acknowledges the dynamic nature of the operating environments of public utilities and thus sets as a priority the cultivation of skill sets necessary for adaptive regulatory practices and approaches within its staff and commissioners. The Commission strives to encourage regulated entities to perform and function in ways that serve the public interest in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, ultimately, providing customers with reliable services at reasonable rates.
In addition to the Commission’s traditional duty to oversee and regulate public utilities to ensure the provision of essential and reliable service at just and reasonable rates, the Legislature has entrusted the Commission with increased authority and discretion in implementing the State’s clean energy policies. Three major legislative mandates, the Renewable Portfolio Standards (“RPS”), the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (“EEPS”) and the Public Benefit Fee (“PBF”) are key energy policies driving Hawaii’s clean energy transformation. Given the State’s overall desire to stabilize Hawaii’s economy and move towards energy independence, the majority of the Commission’s time and resources are devoted to this sector.