Hawaiian couple received shocking $18,000 electric bill: 'overwhelmed and confused'

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A Hawaiian couple was charged a whopping $18,000 for their electric bill last month after their electric company claimed they were responsible for paying for their neighborhood streetlights. 

Desha-Ann and Rashann Kealoha, who live in Waianac, received a letter from the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) on Jan. 27, 2022, saying they were the legal owners of the street and were therefore responsible for an outstanding balance of $17,860.09, which was currently more than $18,000 due to “several years of unpaid invoices,” WTEN-TV reported.

“Hawaiian Electric recently learned that you both own Halemaluhia Place…” the HECO said in the letter, according to the report. “Because you own the street upon which the streetlights are located, Hawaiian Electric believes that you are responsible for the payment of electric energy supplied to these streetlights.”

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“Yes, I was shocked, overwhelmed and confused, but still remained hopeful that there is some solution to this,” Desha-Ann Kealoha told the outlet. “My husband has a colorful vocabulary – he was upset.”

The HECO also provided documentation showing which of the street lights allegedly belonged to the couple — which have been powered for several years — without any payment to the company, WTEN reported.

“During the review, Hawaiian Electric learned that several of these accounts did not have an existing customer,” the letter stated, according to the report. “One such account relates to the streetlights that are found within the street at Halemaluhia Place.”

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Desha-Ann said this was the first time she heard about her and her husband owning the lights. She reached out to her realtor, who subsequently contacted the escrow office, WTEN reported. 

A spokesperson for the electric company said they do not expect the couple to pay the balance but are working with them and the city to track down whoever should be responsible for paying the five-figure sum.

“We’re working with all parties and have spoken with the Kealohas. We want to assure them that we don’t expect them to pay the outstanding bill. Our goal is to determine who owns the street where the streetlights are located so that the bill can be paid going forward,” said spokesperson Shannon Tangonan, according to the outlet.

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Desha-Ann, too, is looking for someone else to cover the payment.

“That is definitely a common goal that I hope can be resolved as well!” she told the outlet. “Failure for the developers to complete the dedication process should not be my issue. Not sure who dropped the ball here, but it’s out of my control.”

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