KALAELOA, OAHU –
Every time Alvin Fernandez opens his monthly utility bill the amount due is always a surprise.
“It started from $600, $700, $800, $900, $1100, $1300. Thirteen hundred was the highest,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez and his family moved into the Kaimana town homes at Kalaeloa Apartments three years ago. The units were originally built as military housing and don’t have individual meters. Electricity is provided by the Navy.
He says utility bills were never cheap but the price for power went through the roof about a year ago. “We complained about it. I don’t know if it was because we complained about it but it went down. Drastically like $800.
Other renters were complaining too. With no monthly usage breakdown on the bill many wondered how Kaimana was coming up with the total cost. Representative Andria Tupola has been looking into the issues. She says she was told the amount owned is calculated using a shared billing method.
“They divide it up by square footage and occupancy of each apartment. Because of the shared billing method no one really knows how much electricity they are consuming from month to month,” said Rep. Tupola.
Representative Tupola says her first order of business is to meet with the Navy. She’s also been in contact Greystar, the new property management company.
We reached out to Greystar for an interview. A company representative sent us this statement: “Greystar just took over as property manager last week. While we are getting up to speed on the matter, we are aware of the high utility costs at the property and in the region and that ownership has been actively researching and investing in solutions to improve the utility billing situation there. As we learn more about the operation of the property, we will be in better position to make recommendations to assist the community in reducing energy costs.”
Representative Tupola says she was told electric meters are currently installed but aren’t turned on. No word on if or when they could be operational.