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HONOLULU, August 25, 2020 -- Hawaiian Electric service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through Dec. 31, 2020. 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 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
    • Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.) Program - $500 to $1,250 per household up to 3 times to assist with utilities, mortgage, rent, insurance, or childcare
    • Administered by Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. (MEO)
  • Hawaii 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 Hawaii 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.
    Visit agency websites for details: Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) www.hcapweb.org; Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) www.meoinc.org; or Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) hceoc.net
  • 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 our 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. The company website lists the locations.

For assistance managing energy costs, Hawaii Energy is a trusted resource for tips and rebates to help offset the costs of energy-saving equipment and services. Visit https://hawaiienergy.com/tips for more information.




About Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)
For more than 100 years, Hawaiian Electric Company has provided the energy that has fueled the islands' development from a Hawaiian kingdom to a modern state. Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO), and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (MECO), and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), serves 95% of the state's 1.2 million residents on the islands of O`ahu, Maui, Hawai`i Island, Lana`i and Moloka`i.

The energy we use is an essential but limited resource necessary to maintaining our quality of life. In a changing world, Hawaiian Electric has evolved to offer more than electricity.

Today, the company also provides energy solutions to help customers save money and use energy more efficiently. Hawaiian Electric also continues to pursue the use of more clean, renewable energy alternatives to help ensure a sustainable future for our islands.

COMMUNITY COMMITMENT

Hawaiian Electric Company is dedicated to our community in which we live, work and serve. Rooted in Hawaii and one of the largest companies in the State, Hawaiian Electric takes the concept of malama pono -- to care for and serve -- to heart. The company and our employees have a long tradition of contributing with dollars, time and talent. Corporate citizenship is crucial to Hawaiian Electric's overall business plan because strong communities are essential to the success of the company, our employees and our customers.

Company and employee volunteerism is encouraged and every month, employees walk, run or provide manpower to dozens of non-profits throughout the State. Hawaiian Electric's corporate giving philosophy gives priority to projects that help families, promote education and protect the environment.

The company also sponsors robotics programs and events that promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education, as well as the SunPower for Schools program bringing solar electric power to select schools, the Solar Sprint event where students design, build and race cars using solar power, and the Home Energy Challenge, a school-based competition encouraging elementary school students and their families to reduce energy use at home, among other programs.

For nearly a decade, Hawaiian Electric volunteers have provided manpower, bucket trucks and ladders to install Christmas lights at the Kaimuki Community Park and playground before the annual Kaimuki Christmas Parade in December.

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