Richard Ha writes:
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald recently had a front page article titled HELCO Rate Hike Request Blasted.
By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A review of testimony submitted last month to the state Public Utilities Commission reveals overwhelming opposition to proposals by Hawaii Electric Light Co. to increase its electricity rates next year.
…Ono said that Big Isle opposition to the HELCO proposals had been some of the strongest that he has seen.
Big Island folks stood up and said, “Enough is enough!” and the Consumer Advocate noticed.
Last time around, the Consumer Advocate supported the HECO/Aina Koa Pono (AKP) biofuel proposal. But based on the great number of written and oral testimony and the consumer advocate’s letter to HECO/AKP asking for explanation on numerous points—which everyone knows they cannot answer—it does not appear that the Consumer Advocate will be on HECO/AKP's side this time.
The article doesn’t mention how incredulous people were to find out the HECO/AKP proposal would pay $200 per barrel for biofuel and pass the cost on to rate payers. HECO said they would not say how much they would pay, for “proprietary reasons.” Worse, because HECO assumed a very high oil price, HECO’s PR people made it sound like rate payers would only pay $1 per month. They should have been more evenhanded.
On top of all that, television commercials say that HECO has increased geothermal 25 percent, as if it’s a big deal. Going from 30MW to 38MW is a tiny amount. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to say these sorts of things does not help HECO's credibility.
There could be a PUC decision by late spring or early summer. If we are successful in opposing this, it will demonstrate that the public is not powerless and by following the process, people really can make change. We have drawn a line in the sand. Enough is indeed enough! No more electricity rate hikes!
Instead of doom and gloom, dare we dream of a better life for future generations?