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Hawaiian Electric - Customers Urged To Act Now, Apply For CARES Act Funds
HONOLULU, Sept. 15, 2020 -- Customers challenged by the financial impact of COVID-19 are urged to apply now for utility bill assistance from government and nonprofit sources. Millions of dollars in federal CARES Act funding are available only until the end of the year.
Customers also 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.
"It's critical for customers to apply for assistance if the COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial strain for their household or business. The time to act is now. It helps everyone in Hawaii when these federal funds are injected into our local economy," said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. "We're also offering special payment arrangement plans to help ease the burden for customers -- but we need to hear from you in order for us to help."
Deadlines for some 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 six months for rent, mortgage or utilities
- Administered by Aloha United Way, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Helping Hands Hawaii
Maui County - $5 Million CARES funding
- Hawaii 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)
Hawaii County - $1.5 million CARES funding
- COVID-19 Utility Bill Support -- Provides up to $500 utility (gas, electric or non-government water) bill assistance per month 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; the Kokua Maui County Small Business Recovery & Relief Fund; and the Holomua Hawaii County of Hawaii Small Business Relief & Recovery Fund.
Hawaiian Electric service disconnections for nonpayment have been suspended through Dec. 31, 2020. The company suspended its collection efforts in March to ensure customers' electric service would not be disrupted while many were staying home.
The Public Utilities Commission in August extended the moratorium to the end of the year and said in its order 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.
Customers who are having trouble paying their electric bill are encouraged to 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.
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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