Molokai’s Hui Up! program is now in full swing as families this week began trading in their older, energy-eating refrigerator units for new, low-cost ENERGY STAR®-certified models. Hawai‘i Energy supported the nonprofit organization Sust‘AINAble Molokai in implementing the transformation and educational refrigerator exchange program, with generous help from Makoa Trucking Service, Servco Home & Appliance Distribution, and General Electric.
Dozens of families began dropping off their aging refrigerators at “Duke” Maliu Regional Park in Kaunakakai, and received brand new General Electric units which will help them significantly lower their electric utility bills. A total of 177 refrigerators will be delivered during this current trade-in opportunity.
“We pay the highest cost per kilowatt hour in the islands. So, it’s really important for people to always remember to conserve energy and be energy efficient,” said Emillia Noordhoek, Executive Director of Sust‘AINAble Molokai. “Some people can’t afford to order a refrigerator from a big box store and have it shipped in, and then they’re forced to either stay with a refrigerator that’s costing them $700 a year to run or they have to go without a refrigerator.”
“It’s important, especially on Molokai, because there’s no supply chain here. They don’t have any retail stores. There are no outlets. There’s nowhere to buy a new, energy-saving device of any kind,” said Burk Gingerich, Hawai‘i Energy Program Manager. “A refrigerator alone, here, based on the utility bill, will run families about an extra $350 a year in excess utility costs. So, it really makes a lot of sense to replace their old refrigerators and we provide them a vehicle to do that.”
The community-based Hui Up! program began on Molokai in 2011, when 156 families took advantage of that initial trade-in offer. Since then, the program has replaced more than 600 refrigerators for individual island families. The program requires participants to sign up in advance. Those who qualified by being able to turn in an old unit were eligible to purchase the new refrigerator for $250. The lower price includes a rebate from Hawai‘i Energy.
“It’s always a good feeling to work with the people of Molokai, especially when we team up with generous supporters such as SustʻAINAble Molokai, Makoa Trucking Services and Servco Appliance,” said Gingerich.