Bills loom as moratorium deadlines near


HONOLULU (KHON2) — For many, the impending moratorium deadlines signal a scary end to relief from payments during the pandemic, but there is still help available.

In fact, those who are owed money are likely willing to work with you.

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The moratorium on utility shut-offs ends on May 31, but Hawaiian Electric doesn’t plan on turning off the lights any time soon.

HECO is offering 18-month payment plans to customers, and even if customers don’t set up a payment plan by July, they’ll be automatically enrolled in a 12-month payment plan.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep customers connected, but in the meantime we’re hoping before it gets to that point where you’re put on the 12-month plan automatically that you’ll reach out to us, send in a request form from our website,” HECO Spokesperson Shannon Tangonan said.

HECO also wants customers to know that they aren’t in danger of the power going out yet.

“We want customers to know that there’s no immediate threat of disconnection, if you’re a past due customer you have a balance and maybe you haven’t made payments in awhile please don’t think that come June 1st you’re going to be disconnected,” Tangonan said.

The Board of Water Supply has extended it’s water shutoffs to June 30, which is the same day the federal moratorium on foreclosures is set to expire.

The advice is similar for homeowners who own to their lender. Make contact and work on a payment plan.

“They would like to have to work with the borrower instead of take action due to non-communication. So yeah all lenders have been saying the same thing they hope the borrowers reach out,” said Hawaii HomeOwnership Center Executive Director Reina Miyamoto.

Renters have less time locally, with Hawaii’s moratorium on evictions slated to end on June 8th.

UH Manoa housing expert Phil Garboden says 8-14% of rental housing households are still struggling to make rent, but $166 million recently given to the state for rent and utility assistance is going to help.

“The funding is there there’s more funding coming from the American Rescue Plan, so what really needs to happen now is the time to get the logistics and the operations of those programs to a place where we can really make it automatic for families in need to receive the assistance,” Garboden said.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Rental and Utility Relief Program is currently paused at 12,000 applications. It is expected to resume June 7.

All of Hawaii’s other county assistance programs can be found here:

Hawaii County Emergency Rent Assistance Program

Kauai Rental and Utility Assistance Program

Maui Emergency Rental Assistance Program

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