Big Island

Update on Hawaii Water Service Company’s Proposed Rate Increase

Water is one of the most precious resources and an expense that I always encourage my clients to consider when purchasing property. Here on the Big Island, water is provided through the Department of Water Supply governed by the County of Hawaii, or private companies such as Kona Water Service Company and Hawaii Water Service Company, which both are subsidiaries of California Water Service Group.


Photo Courtesy of Ian Lindsey Photography

Private club communities such as Kukio and Hualalai are serviced by private water companies. The difference between County vs. private water service is a significant price difference in the cost per thousand gallons. For example, per the County Department of Water Supply the current base rate is .89 cents per KGAL vs. $5.26 per KGAL as quoted by Hawaii Water Service Company.

Both public and private water suppliers are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission “PUC,” Hawaii Water Company has submitted a proposal for a blended rate increase of approximately 92%. Surprised by this news, I thought it would be wise to get a better understanding of Hawaii Water Service Company and Kona Water Service Company, which are both subsidized by California Water Service Group.

According to their website, “California Water Service Group is the third largest investor-owned water utility in the United States. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “CWT,” the Company has six wholly owned subsidiaries operating in California, Washington, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Four of the six subsidiaries are regulated by state Public Utilities Commissions. The Company has more than 490,000 customers, more than $400 million in annual revenue, and more than $1.5 billion in gross utility plant assets.”

Hawaii Water Service Company’s website states that “In 2008, Hawaii Water Service Company purchased the Waikoloa Water Company, Waikoloa Sanitary Sewer Company, and Waikoloa Resort Utilities, which provide water and wastewater services to homes, condominiums, hotels, golf courses, and shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort and in Waikoloa Village, both on the Big Island of Hawaii. Also, in December 2008, Hawaii Water Service Company formed Kona Water Service Company on the Big Island to provide water and wastewater services to residences and businesses on the Kukio Resort.”

It’s important to understand the background of these private utility companies so that we are all knowledgeable about who governs our water resources. Per the Hawaii Water Service Company, “their rates have not increased for 7-8 years and recently submitted a proposed rate increase to the Public Utilities Commission in October of 2013.” According to the Hawaii Water Service Company, the proposed rate increase for Kukio includes increasing the monthly meter fee from $12.75 to $21.13, and the proposed rate per KGAL is as follows:

Gallons                    Current rate per KGAL                              Proposed rate per KGAL

0 to 29,999                                $5.26                                                            $10.04
30,000 to 74,999                      $7.47                                                            $14.27
75,000 +                                    $9.96                                                            $18.50


Per the Hawaii Water Service Company, “in addition to Kukio, Hawaii Water Company has proposed rate increases to the PUC for other Big Island communities it serves. The proposed rate increase may take several years to implement.”

More Information

For further information, call Hawaii Water Service Company at 808.883.2046. Their friendly staff is more than happy to help answer your questions.

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