PUC hearing to cover 113 percent rate hike for Pukalani wastewater customers is today

The Maui News

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s public hearing on sewer rate increases for 880 residential, business and government customers in Pukalani will begin at 6 p.m. today in Pukalani Elementary School’s cafeteria.

Hawaii Water Service Co. is requesting higher rates to raise an additional $1,275,598 for its operations — a 113.5 percent increase over current revenue of $1,123,833.

If approved, the rate hike would provide the company with a 7.75 percent rate of return. The company is asking the PUC to approve higher rates phased in over five years.

The water company has been managing the Upcountry wastewater system since 2008. At that time, it installed a $9.6 million wastewater treatment plant.

The company filed its last rate review application in 2011. Since then, it has made a number of investments in infrastructure, including installation of emergency generators and software to monitor the quality of treated wastewater.

“We are also seeking to offset the remainder of the cost of the wastewater treatment plant that was previously constructed but not yet added into rates,” General Manager Ton Carrasco said in a letter to customers. “In addition to these capital improvements, other operating costs have increased since the last rate review.

“We know that rate increases are never welcome, and we have made significant efforts to keep costs down in the Pukalani service area. Capital investments are still necessary, however, to stay in compliance with Department of Health regulations.”

To view the application, visit the PUC’s online document management system at dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms and enter 2015-0236 in the Docket Quick Link search box.

For more information on Hawaii Water Service Co., visit www.hawaiiwaterservice.com/grc or call (808) 883-2046.