KIUC members to get rebates subtracted from April electric bills

Kaua’i Electric customers of record between November 2001 and October 2002 will see rebate credits deducted from their April Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative bill.

The rebates range from $1 to over $100,000.

The exact rebate per customer is based on total electric payments from Nov. 1, 2001 to Oct. 31, 2002.

The credits are prorated and based upon electric usage among the 30,000 customers of record during that period.

They are being paid to fulfill a provision that called for Kauai Electric’s former owner, Citizens Communications, to pay $3 million to customers of record when the $215 million sale of KE to KIUC was finalized, on Oct. 31.

While the average residential customer may see a rebate roughly equivalent to a third of an average monthly bill, the largest users, mainly hotels and resorts, will see the largest rebates, with the biggest being over $100,000.

One residential customer who received a letter from Alton Miyamoto, KIUC president and chief executive officer, got notice that his bill for April will be credited in the amount of just over $71. A business located along Kuhio Highway in Lihu’e will get over $3,000 knocked off its April bills.

Customers who had service for only a portion of that one-year period will receive smaller credits, or checks if they are not current KIUC members (customers).

“Whoever pays the most gets the most,” said Anne Barnes, KIUC communications coordinator.

“We are happy to begin bringing members the benefits of an electric cooperative,” said Faye Akasaki, vice president of member services. “It’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ to our customers for their continued support,” Akasaki said.

April bills begin being mailed out tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2, reflecting the one-time, line-item credit, shown on the bills as “Refund From Sale.”

On some other items, Barnes said there are no plans for any KIUC rate increase in the immediate future, nor any plan to petition the state Public Utilities Commission for a rate increase.

A priority now for KIUC representatives is determining what members want from their cooperative, she said.

“We know people want lower rates,” dependable service, and are interested in seeing renewable energy sources developed, she said. But KIUC leaders aren’t sure how much members are willing to give up, possibly in rebates, in order to see renewable sources come online.

Focus groups, surveys, and other ways to engage members in dialog about KIUC’s future, are in the works, she said. “I know that this island will talk.”

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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