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Honolulu

Honolulu Utility Assistance Program

Are you behind on your electric, water, or gas bill? You’re not alone. According to a KHON investigation, Honolulu residents pay 44 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. This is the highest rate in the country. Unsurprisingly, High energy costs in Hawaii are a result of only 38% of local power coming from renewable energy. It’s no wonder many low to middle-income residents are struggling to keep up. Thanks to the Honolulu utility assistance program, Honolulu residents can now get the help they need to pay for heating and air conditioning.

Honolulu has seen a steady increase in utility costs over the past few years, with many low-income households struggling to keep up with rising energy bills. Along with the ongoing economic uncertainty, the problem has been made worse by inflation and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article will look at how this trend has affected low-income households in Honolulu, as well as what resources are available to help eligible households with financial assistance.

Increases in Honolulu’s Utilities Prices

In 2021, Hawaiian Electric announced that the cost of electricity would increase by 4.6% for Oahu residents, with Maui County seeing an increase of 3.2%. This announcement came on top of already increasing energy costs due to inflation and the rising costs of fuel. The average monthly bill for Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu has gone up from $120 in 2015 to $143 in 2021, an increase of 19%. This increase in energy costs has forced many low-income families to choose between paying their bills and meeting other basic needs, such as food and housing.

Impact on low-income families

Low-income families have been hit particularly hard by the rising costs of utilities. Many families are already struggling to make ends meet, and the additional financial burden of high energy bills has led to housing instability and disconnection notices. According to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, low-income households spend a greater percentage of their income on energy bills than higher-income households. In Hawaii, many low-income households are senior citizens, disabled, or living on social security, making it difficult for them to absorb the rising costs of energy bills.

Organizations Offering Rental Assistance in Honolulu

Fortunately, there are several organizations in Honolulu that offer rental assistance and payment assistance to eligible households. These organizations’ mission is to assist low-income households with the cost of housing and utilities using federal funds and donations. Here are some of the organizations offering rental and utility assistance in Honolulu:

  1. Hawaiian Electric’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)This program offers financial assistance to low-income households for their energy bills. Eligible households can apply through the Hawaii Department of Human Services. Visit their website for more information, or call (808) 586-5740/(808) 586-5740
  2. Aloha United WayThis organization offers rental and utility assistance to families in need. Eligibility requirements vary based on the program, but all programs require proof of income and residency in Honolulu. Visit their website for more information, or call (808) 536-1951/(808) 536-1951
  3. Catholic Charities HawaiiThis organization offers rental assistance to families facing housing instability.  Eligibility requirements include proof of income and a history of on-time rent payments.  Visit their website for more information or call (808) 524-4673/(808) 524-4673

Eligibility Requirements for Assistance Programs

Each organization has its own eligibility requirements, but most programs require proof of income, residency, and a history of on-time payments. In addition, many programs have income limits, and households with income above the limit may not be eligible. Eligibility requirements can be found on each organization’s website or by contacting them directly.

Energy efficiency programs

In Honolulu, there are several programs for saving energy that can help lower energy bills over time, in addition to programs that help people pay their bills. Hawaiian Electric has a free program called “energy audits” that helps people find ways to make their homes use less energy. They also offer rebates for appliances and lights that use less energy and a program that gives customers with low incomes free energy-saving devices. The Honolulu Energy Efficiency Program (HEEP) also offers energy audits and rebates for energy-efficient upgrades. These programs can help eligible households reduce their energy bills and save money in the long run.

Application Process for Assistance Programs

The application process for each program may vary, but most organizations require applicants to fill out an application form and provide supporting documentation, such as proof of income and residency. Some organizations may also require a home visit to verify eligibility (check out weatherization assistance programs to make your home energy efficient). Applications can typically be submitted online, by mail, or in person.

Conclusion

The rising cost of utilities in Honolulu has had a significant impact on low-income households, leading to housing instability and disconnection notices.  However, there are resources available to assist eligible households with financial assistance for their energy bills.  In addition, energy efficiency programs can help lower energy bills in the long run.  It is important for eligible households to take advantage of these programs and for the community to come together to support those who are struggling with the rising costs of utilities.

Benton Darrrell
Benton Darrrell
Benton Darrell is an experienced energy consultant specializing in assisting small to mid-sized businesses in optimizing their energy usage and embracing sustainable practices. With a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and a deep understanding of government programs, Benton provides tailored recommendations to businesses and families seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. His technical expertise and hands-on experience make him a valuable resource in navigating the complexities of renewable energy adoption. Prior to his consulting work, Benton dedicated his efforts to non-profit organizations, driving initiatives that promoted sustainable energy practices and educated communities about the benefits of renewable resources. This background equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by businesses in adopting clean energy solutions and leveraging government incentives effectively. Benton's commitment to creating a better future extends beyond his professional pursuits. He feels a strong sense of responsibility to create a sustainable world for future generations in his role as a devoted husband and father of three daughters. By blending his technical knowledge, experience with government programs, and genuine passion for sustainability, Benton guides businesses to make significant energy savings while making a positive impact on the environment, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Honolulu Weatherization