Business Report: 1/2/15 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Business Report: 1/2/15

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawaii hotels were PACKED on Christmas week with visitors flying home for Christmas break and/or the New Year. Occupancy rates leaped from shoulder to peak levels - Big Island 78, Kauai 81, Maui 82, Oahu 86 percent full. Oahu's average room rate soared to 271 dollars a night - Kauai and the Big Island saw average room rates shoot past 300 dollars a night - Maui's rate went to 540 dollars on AVERAGE.

Maui Electric has notified the PUC it will not seek a rate increase this year "in recognition that its customers are already in a challenging high electricity bill environment." Maui Electric proposes instead to work on more solar power, more natural gas in place of oil, and other operational changes.

Fitch Ratings affirms its AA-minus rating on Big Island general obligation bonds - citing strong financial management, resilient tourism, and a low debt burden.

A new report from Hawaii Commercial Real Estate says despite a rebounding economy Honolulu office vacancy, already over 14%, got larger in the third quarter. It is so NOT a landlord's market that the Waikiki Trade Center, a fifth empty, will be switching to other uses, no longer renewing office tenants.

The IRS says it's on track to start taking tax returns on time, which means, on January 20. Congress did change the tax law again but this year the IRS computer programmers were able input the new stuff fast.

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