LIHUE (AP) - Kauai Island Utility Cooperative customers will decide in a special election whether people who refuse to install new smart meters to monitor electricity use should pay for the utility to read and service the old meters.
The Garden Island reported Tuesday that a special ballot election starting Jan. 3 will determine who will pay the estimated $340,000 per year. The board of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative will decide the language of the final bill before its members decide.
The utility would charge about $10 per month in fees approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
Residents against the bill say the utility is trying to manipulate its language to swing voters to vote for it.
"The process is a charade. It's a farce," said Jonathan Jay, who drafted a petition against the proposal.
Spokesman Jim Kelly of the cooperative says the language can be changed. He said the board will take a second vote next week.
The current language includes some of the fee information and a basic explanation of the two sides. Voting against the proposal would mean all cooperative members would absorb the costs, not just those using the old meters.
The mail ballots are due Jan. 25, Kelly said.