Kauaʻi Judge Denies Injunction on KIUC Meter Opt-Out Fees
News Release from KIUC
Līhuʻe, Kauaʻi, HI - 1/21/14 – Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe refused to issue an injunction sought by a Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative member opposed to paying the fee charged to customers who don’t want to use a wireless smart meter.
At a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Watanabe said Adam Asquith had not satisfied any of the legal requirements to obtain an injunction against KIUC.
The judge said the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission is solely responsible for reviewing and setting utility rates and fees and that a “glaring problem” with Mr. Asquith’s motion was that it did not include the PUC. She said the PUC is a “necessary party” to any challenge of utility fees.
“The law is clear that this is not an issue to be challenged in court,” Judge Watanabe said in dismissing the motion for an injunction.
Mr. Asquith is one of three members who filed a petition challenging the cooperative’s $10.27 monthly charge for customers who don’t want a smart meter. The charge was approved in October 2013 by the PUC and took effect in November 2013.
Mr. Asquith then filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the opt-out fee and requesting a preliminary injunction to stop KIUC from collecting the fee.
Laurel Loo, general counsel for KIUC, said the cooperative will now file a motion seeking the dismissal of Mr. Asquith’s lawsuit.
KGI: Judge denies injunction against KIUC