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Ho`okele Magazine 2019
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Ho`okele Magazine 2020

Taking energy conservation action

110512-N-WP746-054

10/07/19 05:40 PM

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, United States

Oct. 2, 2019

Story by Anna Marie G. General Commander Navy Region Hawaii 

Energy efficiency, culture and behavior, and renewable energy and sustainability are three pillars to the Navy’s shore energy approach. 

With the recent fiscal year 2020 increase of electricity rates at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) on Oahu and Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, residents living in Public Private (PPV) housing are encouraged to conserve energy to control the cost of their monthly electricity bill. 

According to Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Hawaii, PPV housing residents are charged a rate no higher than the local utility residential rate of approximately $.32 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for Oahu and $.33 per kWh for Kauai. 

“Military residents living in privatized housing pay for their electricity usage based on Navy and Air Force-designed utility payment programs that encourage energy conservation,” said Darryl Nii, housing director, Navy Region Hawaii. “Residents receive a monthly billing statement based on how their usage is compared to their respective group’s allowance.” 

The programs are the Resident Energy Conservation Program (RECP) used by Ohana Military Communities residents, and the Utilities Allowance Program (UAP) used by Hickam Communities residents. These programs combine similar homes together and calculates a monthly usage allowance for each group. 

According to the program policy, a 10% buffer is added above and below the monthly average usage to create a 20% normal usage band (NUB). Residents who use less electricity than the NUB allowance receive a rebate for the energy saved. Residents who use more than the NUB allowance are required to pay for the excess usage, and residents who consume the average will not be billed or receive a credit. 

“The average electricity usage for military residents [Ohana Military Communities] is approximately 1,300 kWh per home but a little more for Hickam Communities,” said Nii. “The average monthly electricity usage by residents living in privatized housing has decreased significantly ever since these programs were implemented.” 

NAVFAC Hawaii buys power from the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), which is distributed to Navy-owned power grids on JBPHH and PMRF. Monthly fluctuations may occur with oil market changes and resident usage. 

Hawaii has the highest electricity rates in the country but with the RECP and UAP, there are energy conservation benefits to living in PPV housing. 

“Over the past five years on the Navy side, we’ve saved enough money to restore and repair air conditioning to 635 Pearl City Peninsula houses and build a playground on Moanalua Terrace,” said Capt. Jeff Bernard, commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Every dollar saved in your energy bill is a dollar that goes back into recapitalization of your housing partners neighborhood. It’s a dollar that comes back to you and that’s a direct result of energy conservation.” 

With the electricity rate increase this fiscal year, October also marks Energy Action Month, which is designed to increase awareness on energy use, and to develop energy efficient behaviors that will continue throughout the year. 

“Do everything you can to understand where your energy is being used. If you don’t know, contact the housing office Know Load Program and they’ll come out and do an audit of your house and help you understand those things,” said Bernard. “Anytime you can turn things off, turn them off, especially if you’re going to be out of town or out of the house for the day or some period of time. Turn off as much as you can.” 

To learn more about RECP, visit https://www.cnic.navy.mil/ffr/housing/recp.html or contact your local housing representative.

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