Molokai Properties Water Rate Hikes Finalized
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved of the water rate hikes, which came at the request of Molokai Properties Ltd. (MPL), also known as Molokai Ranch. The PUC finalized the rate increase of 126.5 percent for one of MPL’s companies, Molokai Public Utilities, Inc. (MPU), but it is unclear if the higher water rates will be finalized for MPL’s other utilities company, Waiale O Molokai.
Residents have rallied against the hikes, which increased water bills by hundreds of dollars a month. More than 3,000 customers use the services of MPL’s two utilities companies. The PUC decision comes more than a year of the interim rates, which increased MPL’s annual revenue by nearly $550,000.
“The Commission recognizes that the final increase in [Molokai Public Utilities]’s water rates is large. Nonetheless, the increase in revenues is necessary for MPU to continue its essential water service in the Kaluakoi area on the island of Molokai, without interruption,” according to the PUC news release.
“It’s been a long fight for the people of Molokai,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares via the Maui News. “The county was able to keep the rates from being as high as what Molokai Public Utilities wanted, but for the Molokai customers that will be affected by the state PUC’s decision, it’s still a difficult situation. We will to continue to fight on their behalf.”
MPL orignally requested an increase in revenue of more than 200 percent, but was rejected by the PUC.
“It’s really a difficult situation,” said State Sen. J. Kalani English, whose district includes Moloaki, via the Maui News. “Because it’s too high, but it’s better than them shutting down. And it’s sure better than the 300 percent increase they asked for at first.”