Power bills topping $1,000 draw ire of residents at gated West Oahu community

Published: Sep. 28, 2019 at 12:18 PM HST
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EWA BEACH, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents in a gated Ewa Beach community are demanding answers after they were hit with shockingly high electricity bills this month.

Many who live in the Kapilina Beach Homes neighborhood say their electricity bills have more than doubled -- the highest at over $1,000.

"We're all just petrified," said one resident. "Nobody can afford a $1,000 utility bill every month. We are really scraping the bottom of our bucket trying to make rent and utilities this month."

Those who spoke with Hawaii News Now do not want to be identified because they fear retaliation from the property management company.

They say they're frustrated and confused by the rising costs because they say they've been taking steps to reduce their power usage.

Some families are purposely not using A/C, hot water, and other appliances.

Others say they were out of town for weeks.

"My house was completely empty," the resident said. "We actually unplugged the TVs and all chargers and everything, yet we still saw that increase on our bill cycle this month."

Residents say they’re getting little to no help when seeking answers from management.

"We've also noticed that our kilowattage has doubled and tripled with no explanation within a month," said another resident. "As a management property, they should be the first advocating for trying to find out what is going on with the bills, why the bills have gone up, how is the power being used or getting an audit."

The Navy provides electricity from its grid to power Kapilina Beach Homes, and officials say they're currently billing the property management company $.197 per kilowatt hour.

But on the latest utility bill, residents are being billed $.287 per kilowatt hour.

In Kapilina's lease, it states that residents "may be paying for part of the utility usage in common areas or in other residential units as well as administrative fees," and that "the allocation method may or may not accurately reflect actual total utility consumption for Resident."

Hawaii News Now reached out to the property management company asking how they calculate what each household owes every month for electricity, but we have not yet received a response.

The Public Utilities Commission says the Hawaii Landlord Tenant laws do not regulate above-meter utility charges by property management or landlords.

And with the Navy set to increase its electric rates almost 60 percent on October 1, residents say they feel trapped.

“We can’t afford deposits to go somewhere else and pay rent somewhere else because we can’t save anyway because its all going to elevated bills,” said a resident.

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