Hawaii Water yesterday received approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (Commission) to increase annual revenues by approximately $771,000 in its Pukalani wastewater system for improvements made over recent years. The increase will become effective after the Commission approves the new tariff to be filed by the utility.
In its decision, the Commission authorized the increase in revenue of $770,687 to recover costs associated with providing reliable wastewater service that meets all quality and environmental standards in Pukalani. The utility’s Pukalani system provides wastewater service to residential and commercial customers, a school, and a community center on the island of Maui. Sewer rate increases for Pukalani customers were last approved by the Commission in 2014.
The increase, which will be phased in over four years to reduce the impact to customers, will allow Hawaii Water to recover costs for infrastructure improvements including upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant; enhancements to the water quality monitoring, management, and reporting system; and two emergency generators to ensure service is uninterrupted in the event of a power outage.
“We are committed to ensuring our Pukalani customers have high-quality, reliable wastewater service that meets all standards, and we continue to make significant improvements in the wastewater system to achieve this,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, President and CEO of Hawaii Water Service. “We appreciate the work done by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to review our operations, costs, and service and ensure that wastewater rates accurately reflect the costs of providing service. This enables us to remain focused on our promise to provide quality, service, and value to our customers.”
Additionally, because the cost of electricity is such a significant portion of the cost to provide water service in Hawaii, the decision also allows for the entire cost of power to be separately identified from all other charges on the customer’s bill. Hawaii Water Service, which bills power costs to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis, previously testified to the Commission that this separate line item – now called the Power Cost Charge – is important to give customers visibility on how much energy it takes to provide wastewater service to them.
The Commission’s decision was based on a partial settlement reached with the State of Hawaii Consumer Advocate’s office in July 2017.