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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 1, 2010

PUC issues interim rate hike for Kauai

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn addresses shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday outside Paris. He said that he expects the French carmaker to return to profit in 2011 at the latest.

JACQUES BRINON | Associated Press

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The Public Utilities Commission has issued an interim rate that will result in an average increase of $8 in monthly bills for residential customers of the Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative.

The KIUC is in the process of preparing revised rate tariff sheets to reflect interim rates, which are expected to go into effect sometime this month.

"We know that any rate increase isn't easy for our members," said Randy Hee, KIUC president and chief executive officer.

"This is Kaua'i's first increase in base rates since the 1995-1996 timeframe and will help to stabilize the cooperative financially because our margins and financial stability will be much less dependent on volatile fossil fuel prices under the new rate structure."


Three bills approved by the Legislature are likely to drive up the costs for insurance coverage for Hawai'i residents and businesses, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

The trade group said one of the bills, SB 2159, raises the fee from $7 to $20 for insurers to obtain a driving record copy. HB 1985 doubles more than 30 other fees that are paid by insurance companies, agents, brokers, adjusters and other insurance entities. And HB 2600 requires insurers to put systems in place to pay premium taxes monthly rather quarterly, which has been the standard practice.

"Hawai'i is facing difficult state budget problems, and we realize that the Legislature had to take action to address the state's fiscal woes," PCI Vice President Sam Sorich said. "However, PCI believes that some actions taken by the Legislature will drive up the costs for insurance coverages that Hawai'i families and businesses need."


Employees of the Hotel Hāna-Maui said they will hold rallies beginning tomorrow to protest plans by the new owners of the hotel to cut an unspecifed number of jobs.

Denver-based Amstar Group LLC is buying the luxury hotel in a deal that is expected to close this month.

"Amstar will not commit to hire the current workers or to give them any sort of preference when they make hiring decisions," said Eric Gill, secretary-treasurer for UNITE HERE Local 5, which represents the workers.

The workers plan to rally tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday, the days the hotel is holding job fairs at which employees can reapply for their jobs.