I’ve lived on Kaua’i for 26 years and recently retired from an administrative
position at Kaua’i Electric.
After attending the first session of the
Lihu’e town meeting, some pretty hot issues are still out there regarding the
sale of Kaua’i Electric (KE) to the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).
I’d like to talk about what I perceive to be the major issues jeopardizing
community support of this sale. I support this sale and what follows explains
Many in our community feel the $270 million bid for KE was just too
much when compared with KE’s true dollar value. A few individuals in our
community think they have sufficient data to support this idea. Others agree
simply because the co-op was the winner in a bidding war. Few of us feel the
price was just right.
Most of us were upset to learn our rates wouldn’t go
down anytime soon. Partially because of that $270 million bid. Payments on
the cumulative loans involved, plus building an equity fund for routine
maintenance will take some time. More time than most of us care to endure.
However, the co-op did point out that most of the costs associated with
disaster recovery should be covered by FEMA funds due to their non-profit
Many felt some members of the current Board of Directors are
lacking the right stuff. We learned that a routine election process should
address this issue going forward. We also learned that Directors receive zero
compensation except for business travel expenses. This surprised most of us
and may have eased some fears that Directors serve for the wrong reasons.
Having no previous experience with co-ops myself, I find this idea quite
At the conclusion of the town meeting, I managed to get past the
issue of how much the co-op bid. It’s likely the other companies bidding
against the co-op were investor-owned utilities just like Citizens. Had someone
else won the bid, there’s no question in my mind that we’d continue down the
path of investing in that company instead of our own community. I don’t know
of anyone who can prove our rates would go down had someone one else won the
bid, even for less money.
By the way, let’s not forget the forces in place
that help set the rates we pay. Rates are not just an arbitrary number set by
a utility company. Rate levels have to survive intense reviews by government
agencies such as the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Consumer
Advocate (CA). These agencies wield a double-edged sword. On one hand,
they’re partly responsible to insure electric utility customers dot get over
charged for their service(s). On the other hand, they’re partly responsibility
to insure the utility company survives economically and continues to provide
safe and reliable energy for the community it serves. No approvals, no rate
changes. Will being a co-op change all that? I doubt it.
the KIUC has miraculously made it possible for us to control the destiny of our
island’s power company and it’s electric rates. I support this idea for these
reasons and thank the current KIUC members for making it possible.
Invest in renewable
To the Forum:
The current sale of the Electric Company as well
as the plans to build a new oil powered plant that will emit smoke over our
major population area deserve serious attention.
Our current path of buying
a power company that is so reliant oil now and in the future is risky. Experts
say within 15 years oil reserves are going to diminish and fuel for our
dinosaur oil plants may become cost prohibitive. We will, however, still be
paying the 30 year note on the 270 million we’re going to borrow to buy the
plant that may be obsolete.
We need to begin investing our money in
renewable energy such as Hydroelectric, Solar, Windmills, Fuel Cells and
Biomass. The 270 million were spending on the old diesel plants can buy a
massive amount of this new technology.
The Island of Maui’s Solar program
is so successful that it was a feature article in the May issue of Solar Today
Magazine. Maui also just signed a contract to build a windfarm that coupled
with their Solar program will defer the necessity to build an oil fired
Kaua’i Electric’s Solar program, however is the laughing stock of
the Solar Industry. While the other Islands utilities are sponsoring thousands
of systems, Kaua’i limits the number of systems to loss then 70 per year.
Kaua’i Electric’s Energy Wise program actually impedes the growth of Solar
Water heating here because of their “selective” rebate process. On Maui and the
Big Island any homeowner can got a $1000, rebate toward the purchase of a Solar
Water heater. On Kaua’i “select” homeowners receive large rebates as much as
$4000 to $10,000. The qualification process is unfair since every rate payer
pays for the program as an adder to your bill called “Resource Cost Charge.” I
should know, since I’ve been a Solar Contractor on this island for 20 years and
worked as a Participating Energy Wise Contractor since its inception.
all need to take a better look at our future energy picture. Having the highest
rates in the nation should enable us to be the renewable energy model more so
Bring Sherry Hoe back
Pet lovers unite! The inmates have taken over the asylum!
else can you explain the less than unanimous decision by the Board of Directors
to fire the Executive Director, Sherry Hoe from her position at the Kaua’i
Humane Society. Talk about loyalty! Her “numbers” were wrong?
numbers wrong because the shelter continues to operate even though it is
understaffed and underfunded? That must be why the disgruntled staff has tied
all of the yellow ribbons around the trees.
Are the numbers wrong because
Sherry and Raymond Hoe are on the verge of realizing their dream of a beautiful
new facility in Puhi for the homeless animals? That must be why this facility
was built mostly with donations and the efforts of many fund-raising
Are the numbers wrong because Sherry Hoe wanted to bring
affordable spay and neuter programs to the public? Probably. She brought in a
program where any dog or cat could be spay/neutered for less than $100. That is
ridiculously low. If you look at the prices quoted by this island’s
veterinarians you will find the price difference between the highest and lowest
is more than $100 for any dog or cat. Why doesn’t anyone question these
Sherry Hoe should not be fired for trying to get animals
spay/neutered that normally would go on adding to the animal overpopulation and
I say enough!
The animals of this island need our help. They need Sherry
Hoe back in the position where she can help them the most, and they need us to
speak up for them.
I agree that heads should roll. Let’s fire the
egomaniacs who removed Sherry Hoe. I have no doubt in my mind that they will be
much easier to replace.
Allan B. White, animal lover & pet
Tribute to a Champion
To the Forum:
saddened and shocked to hear the news of Sherry Hoe and the Kaua’i Humane
Society. To us Sherry Hoe and the Kaua’i Humane Society are one and the same
(synonymous). This is not in any way meant to under estimate all of the other
excellent workers and volunteers that make up the Kaua’i Humane Society. Sherry
is without question the undaunted leader but what’s a leader without a great
team? We want to voice our heartfelt concern that we’ve never known anyone who
loves animals like Sherry or who will champion their cause like Sherry.
Remember when she raised money for the new shelter by living in a cage at Kukui
Grove Shopping Center? Not to mention all the other fund-raisers (Furry
Scurries, chili cookoffs, silent auctions, just to name a few). The hard work,
blood, sweat and tears that Sherry has put into the Kaua’i Humane Society
cannot be measured.
We know it will be difficult if not impossible to find
anyone comparable in compassion and dedication to Kaua’i’s animals as Sherry
Hoe. May the decision that takes Sherry’s presence away from the Kaua’i Humane
Society be reversed.
Macintosh is a treasure
To the Forum:
weekend, I had the pleasure of attending one of the many concerts given
throughout the years by Kaua’i musicians under the conductorship of Larry
Macintosh. From fast to slow, classical to bop, the music and the evening
always comes out just right. It would be hard to find another person that has
touched so many people in a positive way for so many years as Larry Macintosh.
He may be too young to be listed as a “living treasure,” but nevertheless — he
has my vote.