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Hawaiian Couple Charged With $18,000 Power Bill After Being Told They Owned The Street

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A couple living in Hawaii has been billed in excess of $18,000 for the electricity used to operate streetlights.  The couple received a written explanation from the electric company that insisted their property was responsible for the street’s utility bills.  The letter was accompanied by a streetlight bill for $18,000.

Giving New Meaning to Billing in Arrears

The bulk of the bill in question was for utility use for prior years.  In fact, all but a couple hundred dollars of the bill is attributable to electricity use on the street in years gone by.  The couple, Rashaan Kealoha and Desha-Ann Kealoha, forwarded the HECO bill to KHON2 for investigation.  

Desha-Ann indicated she was shocked by the bill since she did not know she was required to pay the utility bills for her entire street.  She also noted that one of her neighbors had reached out to HECO to have the streetlight repaired after it went out.  The power company insisted it could not perform the repair since the street is privately owned.  

Several news outlets have reported HECO has analyzed streetlight accounts for private streets throughout Oahu dating back to the summer of 2020.  The analysis revealed multiple accounts lacked an existing customer.  The private street dubbed “Halemaluhia Place”, was formally dedicated to the city of Honolulu in the winter of 2020.  However, the city has denied the dedication.

What Will Become of the Bill?

Hawaii Electric insists the couple owns the street where the streetlight operates, meaning they are responsible for paying the bill.  Desha-Ann indicates she and her husband signed home loan documents that did not indicate they were buying the entire street.  The couple’s realtor has since contacted the escrow office.

A public relations specialist for HECO, Shannon Tangonan, indicates the company has worked with all relevant parties.  The company insists it does not expect the couple to pay the entirety of the bill.  Rather, the hope is that the true owner of the street will be identified so the bill can be forwarded to that party.

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