Do Hawaii residents have the highest utility bills?
A study finds Hawaii has the highest utility bills in the nation, but is that really the case?
We pay a lot for utilities in the islands, but do Hawaii residents pay the most?
One study found we fork out much more money than those on the mainland, but a closer look at Hawaii's averages -- shows exactly where we stand.
Laurie Baker spends time every week working on her yard.
While she doesn't have water much in the back of Moanalua Valley, water is one of her monthly utility bills. And those bills just seem to keep going up.
"It is always a concern, but you feel like you can't do anything about it," said Baker.
According to a move.org study, Hawaii has the highest utility bills in the nation.
It found Kansas was right near the national average, of just over $422 a month.
Most of the western U.S. states were below the average, while those along the East Coast were above.
At the top of the list: Alaska and Hawaii.
"Hawaii has a high cost of everything. So if you look at utilities, it is not a surprise to me at all," added Baker.
But those numbers may be a little too high.
The study plugged in cable and internet rates, which added up to $159 per month, but it isn't hard to find bundled packages for around $100 a month.
The study also took the national water rate average of $40/month and applied it to every state, but residents of Oahu and those on other islands pay three times more.
Hawaii residents also pay two times more than most of the country for electricity and natural gas.
But according to HECO and Hawaii Gas, a typical household uses much less than the national average.
That drops Hawaii's utility total to $479.54 a month, which would put it in 5th place in the move.org study.
Some residents conserve resources to lower their bill, while thousands like Laurie have also cut costs by adding PV panels to their roofs.
"Solar has become so popular in Hawaii. You look around, if they have solar they want more. If they don't, they are looking for solar. It has been a real popular option for people to save on their electric bills," said Chris DeBone, a Managing Partner for Hawaii Energy Connection.
Those in the solar industry said business has been picking back up, after a drastic drop in demand at the end of 2015. That was when HECO ended its net metering program, which allowed residents with solar, to send and receive electricity at the same rate.
Now, PV systems include a battery to store extra power for a home to use later.
"Almost every new system we install and all new sales agreements include energy storage. It is almost 100% now," added DeBone.
Debone expects things to remain busy as residents who want to take advantage of tax credit, get hooked up before things change
"The federal incentive has been driving our industry, and it is set to reduce at the end of 2019," stated DeBone.
He said another boost to business is a just announced new program that allows those with net metering to add additional battery storage to their system, but still remain under the old plan.