Hawaii utility bill assistance.
The primary utility company that operates in the region is Hawaiian Electric Company. They provide service to over 95% of the population in the state. Low income customers, qualified seniors and people who need short term assistance can qualify for help with paying bills or energy conservation programs. These resources are also extended to their subsidiaries, including Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO) as well as Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (MECO).
Hawaiian Electric Company will offer qualified low income customers with a reduced rate on their monthly bills. The state public utility commission (PUC) has put into effect rules and regulations that will allow the total amount of electricity used by qualifying low-income customers to be billed to them at the lowest possible rate tier. In order to be found eligible, customers will need to provide a copy of their qualification letter for the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in order to receive this lower rate. There are several places to call for more information or to apply.
- Kona Customer Service – Main number 808-329-3584
- Oahu Call Center can be reached at 808-548-7311
- MECO Call Center 808-871-9777; from Molokai and Lanai, call toll free 1-877-871-8461
- Hilo Customer Service, 808-969-6999
- Waimea Customer Service, 808-885-4605
Kauai County residents may be able to receive low interest rate Residential Rehabilitation Loans, which can be used to update a home with more energy conservation friendly enhancements. Qualifications will need to be met in order to be able to receive access to this offering. For more information or to apply for one of these loan products, contact the Kauai Housing Agency at 241-4444.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative offers a replacement program for appliances including water heaters and refrigerators. The Qualifying Member Appliance Replacement Program will be able to help seniors who are 60 years of age or older save money on their bills by helping them replace older, less efficient units with new, more efficient refrigerators that will be offered at no cost to the customer.
In order to apply for the appliance replacement program, the applicant will need to own their own home, meet federal government poverty guidelines for the program year, and they also need to own the refrigerator or water heater. The refrigerator that a homeowner is trying to replace will need to be at least 11 years old and be the homeowner’s primary, and only, refrigerator. This program is offered in partnership with the County of Kauai and other local non-profits. Applicants must contact the County of Kauai Offices of Community Assistance Agency on Elderly Affairs to determine if they are eligible. 808-241-4470
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and weatherization is offered by the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council. This is the community action agency for the area, and the organization receives applications for utility and cooling bill assistance from families and individuals across the state. The program normally opens up in June of each year.
The government program will provide a one-time cash payment, which will then be deposited into the (qualified) applicants’ utility account around November, and the customers statement will reflect that credit.
The amount of the credit will vary based on program funding, the applicant’s income, and their number of family members. However, in recent year average payment from LIHEAP was about $553 per family. In the past it could have been as high as $700. Learn more on Hawaii LIHEAP grants.
Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council has a total of five offices in the region, including in Naalehu, Hilo, Kona, Pahoa, and Honokaa Hawaii. Financial assistance for LIHEAP is distributed on a first come, first serve basis from these offices, and the demand for the federal government electric bill assistance program is very high.
Many people who are able to receive help will also be enrolled in weatherization, which is a free conservation program that is available to families in Hawaii. This service can help people save a substantial amount of money on their bills, and it can be as much as a several hundred dollars per year.