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Moratorium on Electric Disconnections Extended

Hawaiian Electric News Release

Hawaiian Electric service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through Dec. 31 for Molokai residents and customers statewide. The company urges customers challenged by the financial impact of COVID-19 to seek utility bill assistance from government and nonprofits, and to set up a payment arrangement plan.

The Public Utilities Commission yesterday ordered utilities to extend through Dec. 31 the moratorium on service disconnections for nonpayment. The company voluntarily suspended its collection efforts in March to ensure customers’ electric service would not be disrupted while many were staying home. The PUC subsequently ordered all utilities to suspend disconnections and Hawaiian Electric has since been following with the commission’s orders and timing for the disconnection moratorium.

In its order to extend the moratorium, the commission also stated that “customers should continue paying their bills to the extent possible during this time, noting that customers will still ultimately be responsible for paying Utility service billings accrued during this suspension.”

Even with the extension to Dec. 31, customers should take advantage of Hawaiian Electric’s special payment arrangement plans to help keep past due balances manageable. Go to hawaiianelectric.com/paymentarrangement to learn more about the interest-free plan options for residential and business customers.

“Regardless of the date of the moratorium, we want to ensure that customers facing financial hardship are able to take advantage of the CARES funding that is set to expire at the end of the year and that we can help them make their payments more manageable,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We need to hear from customers in order to help them.”

Deadlines for some utility bill assistance programs are fast-approaching while others are nearing their funding limits. It’s important for customers to apply while assistance is still available. Eligibility requirements vary. Go to hawaiianelectric.com/COVID19 for a listing of programs.

Maui County got $5 Million CARES funding, which is administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. (MEO) though the Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.) Program. Residents can receive $500 to $1,250 per household up to three times to assist with utilities, mortgage, rent, insurance or childcare. Visit meoinc.org for more information.

Additional CARES funding is available for households in need of utility payment help that meet the 60 percent state median gross annual income limit (individual, $30,767, and for a family of four, $59,167). Applicants who meet income requirements may be eligible for up to $1,000 in LIHEAP COVID-19 Disaster Energy Crisis Intervention Assistance.

Small businesses may also apply for CARES funding through the Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery and Relief Fund at covid19mauinui.com/kokua-maui-county.

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