Hawaiian Electric Extends Moratorium on Service Disconnections to Dec. 31
Hawaiian Electric is extending its suspension of service disconnections for nonpayment through Dec. 31, 2020. The company advised customers challenged by the financial impacts of COVID-19 to seek utility bill assistance from government and nonprofits and set up a payment arrangement plan.
The Public Utilities Commission 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 are advised to take advantage of Hawaiian Electric’s special payment arrangement plans to help keep past due balances manageable. Go to www.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 www.hawaiianelectric.com/COVID19 for a listing of programs. Among them:
- City & County of Honolulu – $25 Million CARES funding
- COVID-19 Hardship Fund – up to $2,000 per month for 6 months for rent, mortgage or utilities
- Administered by Aloha United Way and Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
- Maui County – $5 Million CARES funding
- Hawaiʻi Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.) Program – $500 to $1,250 per household up to three times to assist with utilities, mortgage, rent, insurance, or childcare
- Administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. (MEO)
- Hawaiʻi County – $1.5 million CARES funding
- COVID-19 Utility Bill Support – Provides $500 Utility (gas, electric or non-government water) bill assistance for eligible households
- Administered by the Hawaiʻi County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC)
- 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 Honolulu Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund at www.oneoahu.org/smallbusiness and the Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery & Relief Fund at www.covid19mauinui.com/kokua-maui-county.
Customers who are having trouble paying their electric bill should contact Hawaiian Electric to set up a payment plan.
Go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/paymentarrangement for the link to a payment arrangement request form; the form can be emailed to the company’s customer care team. Submitting the form is the quickest way for customers to start the process.
The company’s walk-in payment centers remain closed until further notice, but there are several payment methods available to customers.
Go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/paymentoptions for available payment methods. Customers who prefer to pay in person may do so at no charge at Western Union payment locations at retailers throughout the company’s service territory.