REPORT FROM SENATE MAJORITY– More than 1,000 Hawaii Island residents have taken a strong public stand against a proposed rate increase by Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO). Reacting to what are already punishingly high electric rates, these residents have signed a petition sponsored by Senator Malama Solomon, who represents District 1 (Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo, Rural South Hilo, and Hilo).
Senator Solomon sees this expression of public opposition as a clear mandate from her district to:
1) Demand the Governor and Public Utilities Commission (and State Consumer Protector) deny HELCO’s proposed rate increase, especially given recent significant profits reported by both HELCO and its parent company, Hawaiian Electric Light Co. (HECO);
2) Urge the Governor to rescind Executive Agreements between the State of Hawaii, the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) and HECO that were put in place in 2008 by former Governor Linda Lingle. These agreements effectively relinquished the State of Hawaii’s control of its energy policy to HECO, and thereby enabled HECO to function as an unregulated monopoly focused on profits for its stockholders rather than stable, lowest-possible-cost electricity for the families and business of Hawai’i. These agreements sanctioned HECO as a state supported energy monopoly and enabled passing on to rate payers all costs for HECO’s expansion and diversification away from fossil fuels.
Reacting to HECO’s reported $29.4 million in income for the 2nd Quarter of 2012 – which was about 70% more profit than it earned in the same quarter in 2011, petition signers and Sen. Solomon also are asking the Governor, PUC and Consumer Protector to demand that the public utility shoulder costs for timely transition away from fossil fuels and not place the burden of this transition on the consumer. Further, Sen. Solomon will be asking the PUC to adopt as a matter of public policy a requirement that the utility provider must swiftly make the transition from fossil fuels to “stable, lower cost electricity” – not just “renewable alternative fuels” — to relieve constituents of high and continually escalating rates.
Sen. Solomon will be presenting the 1,000+-name petition to a PUC hearing on HELCO’s proposed rate increase at 6 p.m., Tues., Oct. 30 at Kealakehe High School. All interested Hawai’i Island residents are urged to attend this PUC hearing in Kona, or a companion hearing at 6 p.m., Mon., Oct. 29 at Hilo High School Cafeteria, to speak out against the proposed rate increase.