MECO to discuss modernization plans

MECO to discuss modernization plans

A community meeting to provide information and to solicit comment about Maui Electric Co.'s draft plan to modernize the power grids on Maui, Molokai and Lanai is set to begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Cameron Center.

An overview of the draft plan will be presented with a question-and-answer session from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The draft Grid Modernization Strategy, filed with the state Public Utilities Commission in June, describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Maui Electric, Hawaiian Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Cos. over the next six years, the MECO news release said.

Public comment gathered from this meeting and others on Oahu and Hawaii Island will be included in the final plan to be submitted to the PUC at the end of August.

The draft plan aims to bring on more renewable resources, like private rooftop solar; to increase reliability; and to give customers new choices to control their energy use.

Highlights of the draft plan include:

• Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than systemwide. Target customers could include those with rooftop solar on saturated circuits and others interested in demand-response programs, variable rates or who seek usage data.

• Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption.

• Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar use, to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources.

• Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits.

• Enhanced outage management and notification technology.

The draft plan and related documents are available Public comments on the plan can be submitted until Aug. 9.

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