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Suspension of Hawaii utility disconnections extended through May 31

The suspension of disconnections due to nonpayment of utility bills has once again been pushed back, this time to May 31.

The state Public Utilities Commission has ordered regulated utilities, including Hawaiian Electric, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, to extend a moratorium on disconnections due to nonpayment from today, originally, to May 31.

Earlier, the commission had extended it from the end of December to today due to the “extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19.”

“Given the ongoing economic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for lead time for utilities to prepare for the termination of the disconnection suspension,” the PUC said in its order, “the Commission extends, through May 31, 2021, the suspension of disconnections of electricity, gas, water and wastewater services, and suspension of any and all rules and provisions of individual utility tariffs that prevent or condition re-connection of disconnected customers.”

Additionally, no interest or late payment fees may be imposed through May 31.

This moratorium, however, will be lifted on June 1, according to the PUC, which has outlined steps for utilities to take leading up to that date.

Customers should continue paying their bills to the extent possible, the PUC said, because they will still be responsible for bills accrued during the moratorium.

The commission also requires utilities to develop payment plans for customers with past due payments of more than 60 days.

Hawaiian Electric has several payment arrangement options available, including interest-free monthly installment plans.

Several payment assistance resources, including an upcoming Rental and Utility Relief Program for Oahu residents, are also available.

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