Molokai Ranch forced to continue utilities
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission ordered Molokai Ranch to continue providing water and sewage services through its utility subsidiaries until an alternative operator is found.
In a letter sent Thursday to Molokai Ranch's chief executive officer, Peter Nicholas, the commission acknowledged the company faces financial troubles. But it said the utilities can't cease operations without commission approval.
"The utilities have a duty to provide service to their customers; and as such, they are required to provide services unless and until the commission approves a transfer or surrender of their certificates," the commission said in the letter. The PUC e-mailed a copy of the letter to news media yesterday.
Molokai Ranch, officially known as Molokai Properties, Ltd., has three subsidiaries that provide water and sewage services to 1,200 residents and businesses in Maunaloa and Kaluakoi: Molokai Public Utilities, Inc., Waiola o Molokai, and Mosco, Inc.
On May 30, Nicholas wrote the Public Utilities Commission saying the company's three utility subsidiaries would terminate services at the end of August unless another operator was found to take over the services.
Nicholas said Molokai Ranch had supported the utilities because the ranch used the services. But with the ranch shutting down, he said Molokai Properties would no longer subsidize the services.