Saturday, December 1, 2007

HI Superferry: Recent non-PUC Applications

Superferry Requests for low fares‏
From: Dick Mayer
Sent: Fri 11/30/07 11:44 PM

Superferr...pdf (1229.8 KB), Superferr...pdf (1906.3 KB)
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You may find the two attached PDF files of interest: The 1st is an application to the PUC on November 9, 2007 by Hawaii Superferry Company for the special promotional fares of first $29 and then $39. They claim that there is an "emergency: necessitating rapid PUC action. The filing was made several days BEFORE Judge Cardoza lifted the injunction which had prohibited service to Kahului until the environmental review was completed. The general public was NEVER notified that an application was made and therefore had no ability to comment. The PUC claims their rules do not require a public announcement, nor a public hearing, and apparently no public announcement of their decision. The State's Consumer Advocate was notified, but did NOT comment because it was a request for a reduction in fares. In fact it was a huge reduction of about 60%, with potential consequences as pointed out below. The court injunction was lifted on November 14, 2007. Then a 2nd application was filed urging a very quick decision and including a copy of the Judge's order lifting the injunction. Within one week on November 16, 2007 the PUC granted the HSF request. There is an important issue that apparently was not discussed and was not pointed out by the Consumer Advocate, nor by other State departments who might have wanted to comment. That issue relates to the ability of the HSF to repay its $40,000,000 obligation for the barges and other state financed harbor improvements. If the ferry operates with $29 and $39 prices and NO fuel adjustment, then there is a probability that the low fares will result in a stream of losses for several months. Will HSF be able to repay its debts to the State? In court they argued that they were in a very tight cash flow squeeze; these low rates may only make it worse.--D.M.

Aloha, Brad

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