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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, March 16, 2000

Most Heco claims
settled within 30 days

Question: How long does Hawaiian Electric take to process a claim for loss of appliances and food? We have been waiting for over five weeks and gotten no response about our claim. We had to buy a new refrigerator and freezer and had to throw away food because of a power outage. We filed a complaint by letter and phone and received no response either way.

Answer: The Hawaiian Electric claims administrator apparently talked to your husband and didn't realize there was an outstanding phone call, said Heco spokesman Fred Kobashikawa.

You should have gotten a response by now.

In general, the majority of claims will be settled within 30 days -- Heco's internal guideline, Kobashikawa said.

However, there are exceptions. In some cases, "a thorough investigation" might be called for, requiring a check of repair records, interviews with field personnel, field checks, etc.

This could increase the time required for an investigation, Kobashikawa said. This is what happened in your case, he said.

Heco uses the Public Utilities Commission tariff as a guideline in settling claims.

"The tariff holds us responsible for damages resulting from electrical disturbances which occurred "within our reasonable diligence and control," he said. Put another way, "We cannot take responsibility for a loss resulting from an incident not within our reasonable diligence or control."

One example: A car hits a pole and there's an electrical outage. "That's outside our reasonable diligence and control," Kobashikawa said.

Customers can call Heco's claims department at any time to ask about the status of a claim, he said. "We acknowledge receipt of every claim with a letter. That letter contains the name and phone number of the person assigned to (a claim)," he said.

Q: We are moving back to Hawaii this summer. My 10-year-old son has four very tiny goldfish and a parakeet with a surly attitude that will in all probability not be able to adjust to caretakers of a lesser understanding. Are these pets subject to the same animal regulations as dogs and cats? Can they be brought to Hawaii without a big ordeal?

Answer: You don't have to quarantine your son's pet fish and parakeet, but you do need to get a state import permit.

"The importation of all nondomestic animals including goldfish, Carassius auratus, and parakeet, Melopsittacus undulatus, requires an import permit issued by the (state Department of Agriculture's) Plant Quarantine Branch," said Domingo Cravalho, a state animal specialist.

The goldfish and parakeet are allowed entry into the state under the permit for the pet/resale trade, he said. They can be resold or propagated but must be contained (caged) at all times. "Liberation is prohibited," Cravalho said.

You can get an application from any Plant Quarantine Office. On Oahu, call 586-0844 or write to Plant Quarantine Branch, 701 Ilalo St., Honolulu, HI 96813. (Other islands, call 873-3556, Maui; 274-3071, Kauai; 974-4141, Hilo; and Kona, 326-1077).

The fee is $5 for a single shipment or $50 for unlimited shipments within a one-year period, Cravalho said.


To the driver of white Chevy van who was speeding down Salt Lake Boulevard, cut me off, then flipped me the bird. Drivers like that shouldn't be driving at all. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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