Maui sewage rate
could increase

A private company asks
permission to raise its
monthly rates

WAILUKU » Pukalani resident Kathy Petersen said she believes the private company operating a sewage treatment plant for her family and more than 750 other residents in Upcountry Maui should get a rate increase.

But she is opposed to the company's proposal to raise the monthly charge by 165 percent, to $36.66 from $13.83.

"That's a huge jump for people," Petersen said. "I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time paying it."

A state Public Utilities Commission public hearing about the proposed sewage rate increase by Pukalani STP Co. Ltd. is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the King Kekaulike High School Cafeteria.

Pukalani STP also proposes raising the monthly commercial rate to $3.15 from $1.03 per 1,000 gallons of water, potentially affecting some 10 users, including Pukalani Elementary School and Pukalani Terrace Center.

The residences affected by the proposed increase live adjacent to the golf course.

The golf course and related development were purchased in 2002 from the Japanese-based Sports Shinko Co.

Pukalani STP, a subsidiary of Hawaii-based Pukalani Golf Club LLC, said it has lost nearly $700,000 since it took over operation of the sewage plant in 2002.

Jon Yamanishi, controller for Pukalani Golf Club LLC, said apparently the losses have been taking place for some time, and there has been a shortfall in operating revenues of $200,000 a year.

State officials note the proposal is the first time the company has requested a rate increase since initial rates were approved in 1989.

A single-family household pays an average of $31.25 a month for Maui County sewage treatment, according to the county.

State consumer advocate John Cole said his office is studying Pukalani STP's application and plans to develop a position on its proposal by early July. The commission is expected to make a decision by Sept. 1.

Copies of the proposal are available for review at the state Makawao Library or the state Public Utilities Commission office at 54 High St., Suite 218, or by calling 984-8182.

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