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City finally installs timer to stop all-day lighting


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POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

Question: Along the Ala Wai promenade next to the Hawaii Convention Center, the lighting is on 24 hours a day. This has been going on for many years. What a waste of electricity. Why can't they do something about this?

Answer: It should finally be "lights out" during the day.

It was a simple matter of installing a timer, but we were told getting to that point was not that simple.

The area is under the jurisdiction of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, but the lighting is handled by another city department and the control box for the lights is in the Convention Center.

We first asked Randy Tanaka, assistant general manager for the Convention Center, about the lights.

He explained they were on a photo sensor, so went on when at a certain level of darkness. The problem was that they were under the cover of trees, so stayed on constantly.

Parks Director Lester Chang informed us yesterday that a timer had just been installed: "It was something small, but yet it took awhile. ... It took a lot of coordination."

Meanwhile, the Convention Center is illuminated "to keep the image of the building strong because it's an icon for business, but in these times, we've rolled back some," Tanaka said.

Question: I purchased propane gas to fill two tanks from Airgas GasPro on Dillingham Boulevard. I was charged $4.92 extra for a "hazmat" fee. Is that right? Where does the money go?

Answer: Airgas, which has a chain of stores across the nation, charges a hazardous materials fee to "partially recoup our costs for handling and distributing hazardous materials and in compliance with the laws and regulations concerning hazardous materials," company spokesman Jay Worley said in a telephone interview from Pennsylvania.

The fees vary: "We don't have a nationwide set rate for hazardous materials fees," he said.

"Hazmat" fees are "pretty standard in the packaged gas industry" and have been since the mid-1990s, Worley said. "Virtually all industrial gases that are in cylinder form are considered hazardous materials, if for no other reason just because of the pressure they're under."

He said customers are notified of the potential fee through store signs, with the standard retail signs containing an "Itemized Charges Disclosure Statement."

The fee is also disclosed on "delivery tickets," which itemize the products sold, as well on invoices, he said.

That all said, Worley added, "We provide customers with the lowest total propane cost, including hazmat fees, whether our competitors charge hazmat fees or not."

He asked that you contact the store where you purchased the propane gas to clear up any confusion.

Question: I rented an apartment in a pet-friendly condo. The Association of Apartment Owners is requiring a deposit to have a pet in the building. I can understand an owner requiring a deposit for possible damage/infestation inside a unit, but is it legal under the condo laws for an association to require a pet deposit?

Answer: There's nothing illegal about it, said an official with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Real Estate Branch.

The association's bylaws could have a provision requiring a pet deposit.