Customers of the three Hawaiian Electric Companies with special medical needs may now apply for a discounted electric rate.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved Hawaiian Electric’s proposed pilot program for a two-year trial.
Up to 2,000 customers dependent on life-support equipment or increased heating or cooling due to a medical condition verified by a physician may save up to $20 a month on the typical electric use on their island.
Electric use above the typical use per month will be charged at regular residential rates.
“Many customers with special medical needs depend on electric equipment for basic health and safety. Providing a little financial relief for some of our most vulnerable neighbors is the right thing to do,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.
Applications are available at:
- HawaiianElectric.com or by calling 548-7311 on O‘ahu;
- MauiElectric.com or by calling 871-9777 on Maui and 877-871-8461 on Molokaʻi or Lānaʻi;
- HawaiiElectricLight.com or by calling 969-6999 in Hilo, 329-3584 in Kona or 885-4605 in Waimea.
Completed forms will require the signature of a Hawai‘i-based, licensed physician. They can be returned in person or by mail to the appropriate utility.
“Our customers’ privacy is always a key concern,’ Alberts said. “The form will not ask a customer’s medical challenge, but only the equipment and heating or cooling needs confirmed by a physician. Customers will be asked to complete a voluntary survey of their electric use and this individual information will be safeguarded as well.”
To qualify, a customer or a full-time resident in a customer’s home must be:
- Dependent on a life-support device used in the home to sustain life or relied upon for mobility as determined by a licensed physician, including but not limited to the following: aerosol tents; apnea monitors; hemodialysis machines; compressors; electric nerve stimulators; pressure pumps; electrostatic nebulizers; and intermittent positive pressure breathing machines.
- A paraplegic, hemiplegic, quadriplegic, multiple sclerosis or scleroderma patient with special heating and/or cooling needs.
Other equipment needs may also qualify for the discount and will be evaluated individually.
A person with special needs may only qualify for the discount at a single service address. Only the first 2,000 accepted applicants may be included in the pilot program.
Whether applying for the special medical needs rate or not, residential customers with a person in the home dependent on life support or emergency equipment are encouraged to inform their island utility. By calling customer service, the customer will receive special consideration if the account becomes delinquent and be notified about planned maintenance outages.
However, because unplanned outages do occur, it is essential that anyone with life support or emergency equipment needs make alternate plans should power go out.