Tuesday, July 5, 2022 |
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The headline article about the letter to Citizens Utility from our Mayor and
County Council demonstrate once again how our leaders are out of touch with
They have asked Citizens to only sell to someone who
will retain all employees (or hire more) and at the same time drastically lower
electric rates. This is simply pandering to special interest groups.
stop there? Why not demand that the buyer move all wires underground within
three months, and convert 100 percent to renewable energy sources within six
What about free electricity for all county workers as well as
politicians, their appointees, and anyone who has donated $500 or more in
campaign contributions? And fines paid to the county for any power outages –
specifically earmarked to provide pay raises to elected and appointed
But then, what can we expect from those who brought us Y2K
gardens? While O’ahu tries to reassure its residents our leaders persist in
printing daily reminders to hoard and panic.
Time for Plasma Arc debate
To the Forum:
we have another incarnation of the old Plasma Arc that came into our island two
and a half years ago to solve all our solid waste problems.
And each time
the promises become more fantastic.
Let me just say categorically that
Plasma Arc, or Enhanced Plasma Technology, or the Silver Bullet by whatever
name that Mr. Bruce Scambler is offering Kaua’i County will never make
disappear our 200 tons per day of solid waste, create 10 kw of electricity to
sell to Kauai Electric, create 150 to 250 jobs.
Since no one in this
government seems to be technologically literate enough to see the utter fallacy
of the technical aspects of Mr. Scambler’s proposal, let’s at least look at
this promise of 150 to 250 jobs.
Let’s assume that, with benefits etc.,
the average cost per year of a worker at Green Islands Corporation is $35,000.
With 250 workers the annual labor cost of this operation will be $8.75
At 150 tons per day, 5 days per week for 52 weeks, the annual
removal of solid waste by Green Islands will be 39,000 per year.
labor part of the cost of the operation alone will be $224 per ton. Even
without adding the other costs this per ton cost is already four times what the
county now charges for tipping fees ($56 per ton).
It doesn’t take a CPA
to figure this much out.
Now about the technical aspects of this ridiculous
proposal (the use of the adjective here is being charitable), I would propose
the following: I will meet Mr. Scambler, and whatever credible experts he
brings, at a public meeting any time on this island to debate his technical
I was not able to engage Mr. Scambler in any form of technical
discussion on May 13 this year, at a breakfast meeting at the Marriott. As a
matter of fact, I was so frustrated that I did something I had never done in my
life: I walked out on Mr. Scambler!
So I owe him another meeting, a more
public one this time, where I promise I will not walk out on him. I can assure
all interested that it does not take a ph.d. from the No. 1 university in the
nation (U.S. News and World Report annual rating of American universities) to
demolish the claims of this Enhanced Plasma Technology.
But since no one
so far is willing to throw down the gauntlet, I guess I will have to
Raymond L. Chuan, PhD
all the junk mail go now?
As I understand, the
purpose of recycling is to minimize the amount of trash going into our
landfill. My family and I recycle as much as possible.
The things we
recycle are: aluminum cans, glass, cardboard, plastic, newspapers and mixed
paper. Out of the six items I have listed mixed paper is the item that has
the largest amount each month.
My family consists of four people. As you
know that trash is picked up weekly. We only have one trash can out each week
and some times it is not all the way full. The reason for that is, we
But, now that the mixed paper bin at the recycling centers has
been taken away. That is disgraceful because just think about how much paper
is used on a daily basis.
Just think about how much junk mail you receive
each month. So much for that.
And one more thing I have to ask, is what we
put into the recycling bins actually recycled or is it just thrown into the
Kapaa Middle School
A recent letter, the subject of an article in TGI
of Dec. 20, illustrates the futility governmental bodies frequently have in
regard to commercial affairs.
The letter from Kaua’i’s Mayor and the
County Council to Citizens Utilities, the parent corporation of the Kaua’i
Electric, properly expressed Kauaian concern about the potential of rising
electric rates following the proposed sale of Kauai Electric, but then
inconsistently requested that Kauai Electric employment be padded which, of
course, would raise rates.
Apparently our elected officials are more
concerned about employment levels at the utility than they are about Kauai’s
The letter will most likely receive a courteous response and
events will continue on a predictable course and few will realize what should
have been said and done.
The rates an utility may charge are determined by
permitting the utility to have annual revenues equal to the sum of its
operating costs and an allowance for profits on the utility’s invested costs
For a corporation like Kaua’i Electric the amount allowed is
about 10 percent of the rate base. However, when the utility is publicly owned
or is a consumer cooperative rates can be considerably lower.
if the utility’s operating costs are $50 million per year and its rate base is
$100 million, the revenues allowed to a for profit corporation per year would
be $60 million ($50 million plus 10 percent of $100 million).
utility were owned by a governmental body, e. g. Kaua’i County, which is able
to borrow at about a 5 percent annual rate, the revenues would only need to be
$55 million ($50 million plus $5 million), or a savings under the illustration
for customers of over 8 percent.
A non-profit consumer cooperative is
nontaxable and would generate similar savings.
Kaua’i County is already in
the utility business. It operates a water service business and a sewage service
If it gave more than lip service to caring about its residents’
interests, it could have been a bidder to purchase Kaua’i Electric.
Alternatively it could have supported the efforts of the Kaua’i based group
which seeks to acquire Kaua’i Electric and operate it as a non-profit consumer
However, a spokesperson for the County is quoted as advising
that it is not the County’s place to be an advocate for a local cooperative. To
the contrary the County could and should support the course which is believed
to most benefit the people of our County.
It is indeed unfortunate that the
County chose the path of an ineffectual communication rather than attempting to
take affirmative steps to enhance the well being of its residents.
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