Molokai Ranch to Continue Water Service Past Aug. 31

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle today announced that Moloka‘i Properties Limited has confirmed it will continue to provide water service beyond August 31.

In a letter to Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Chairman Carl Caliboso, Moloka‘i Properties Limited Director Peter Nicholas said the recent approval by the PUC to temporarily increase water rates for West Moloka‘i will enable the company to continue to provide service.  The company previously said it lacked the financial resources to continue to operate beyond August 31.

“Now this issue appears to have been temporarily resolved, I confirm the utilities will continue to operate and provide services to their customers past August 31,” Nicholas stated in the letter.   “How long the temporary rate increase will be sufficient for the utilities to be able to continue to operate depends on future fuel, power and labor cost increases,” Nicholas continued.

Nicholas’ letter also pointed out that the temporary rate increases are a “stop-gap measure,” and that the company will not operate the utilities indefinitely.  Moloka‘i Properties Limited’s long-term obligation to operate the utilities has not been determined.

Governor Lingle noted that the rate increase is not an ideal situation for Moloka‘i residents, but it will ensure the continuation of water service until a permanent solution is found.

“The temporary rate increases will allow Moloka‘i Properties to continue to provide water service until another entity can take over the operation,” said Governor Lingle.  “We recognize that this is a difficult situation for everyone involved, and we especially understand residents’ concerns regarding increases in water rates.  However, facing the potential shutdown of water and wastewater services, the Public Utilities Commission has taken appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of residents are not compromised by any disruption of water or wastewater service.

“We continue to emphasize that in the absence of a private entity, operating and maintaining water and wastewater systems is a basic responsibility of county government.  Mayor Tavares, council members, state legislators, and Moloka‘i residents have asked for my help, and we will continue to work with the county to ensure uninterrupted water and wastewater service to protect the health and safety of the island,” the Governor added.

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