LIHU’E — Just a few weeks after quelling rumors first heard from Kaua’i
Electric employees that he would retire if KE becomes a customer-owned
cooperative, Denny Polosky has been named president and chief executive officer
of Kaua’i Island Utility Co-op.
He will assume his new role if the co-op
(KIUC) becomes the new owner of KE.
Polosky, vice president and general
manager of KE, earlier told The Garden Island that, although he is eligible for
retirement, he can’t afford to retire right now.
The state Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) must approve the sale of Kaua’i Electric to KIUC for $270
million for it to be finalized. The commission is reviewing reams of documents
associated with the proposed sale.
If the PUC doesn’t approve the sale,
Polosky will continue in his current capacity with KE until parent company
Citizens Communications (formerly Citizens Utilities) sells KE.
who would get a salary with KIUC “similar” to his current wages with KE, said
local control would allow for “more flexible, more creative” programs to fit
Kaua’i’s energy needs.
Instead of dealing with a large corporation
(Citizens), KIUC could be more personal, he said.
“What I see working for
this board here is that it may be that we’ll have the ability to be more
flexible, more creative, and to try to fit the policies, plans and future
operations into what makes sense for Kaua’i specifically,” he said. “I think
that could be real positive.”
Polosky said there wouldn’t be much of a
difference between working for his current immediate supervisor or the KIUC
board of directors.
“Most of the responsibility and accountability that
I’ll have to the new board is very similar to what I have to my boss as
president of the sector (of Citizens),” he said.
Polosky said he’d help
ensure that current KE employees get similar wages, salaries and benefits under
the co-op model as they receive today from Citizens.
“I’m going to work
hard to make sure that the transition is a smooth one, and that employees will
get significantly the same deal that they have today with Citizens,” he
According to Jenny Fujita, KE spokeswoman, Polosky’s decision to join
the co-op wasn’t unexpected.
“We want to keep the leadership that we’ve had
here, and it’s been good leadership,,” Fujita said. ” think that we expected
that Denny would continue leading this company, because he’s done an excellent
KIUC and Citizens, represented in sale matters before the PUC by
Honolulu-based attorney Alan Oshima, have requested the commission issue a
decision regarding the sale by the end of September.
U.S. Department of
Defense, state Division of Consumer Advocacy (in the state Department of
Commerce and Consumer Affairs), and Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and the Kaua’i County
Council have submitted separate position papers to the PUC opposing the
If the sale is approved by the PUC—something the buyer and seller
still expect—all current KE employees, from Polosky on down, have been
guaranteed their jobs with KIUC under the written sales agreement that is
before the PUC.
“I am grateful to be selected for this very important
position, and to be a part of making Hawaii’s first electric cooperative a
reality,” Polosky said.
“Especially on Kaua’i, a cooperative fits our
community very well. It just makes good sense that the members here own their
own electric utility, which in the future allows for lower electric bills than
would otherwise be possible.”
“We are delighted to have someone with
Denny’s tremendous experience” in line to head KIUC, said Gregg Gardiner,
chairman of the co-op board.
Gardiner said Polosky is the island’s “leading
authority” on running an electric utility and has “a deep aloha for
KE was largely rebuilt after Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and enjoys
one of the best reliability records in the nation.
Polosky joined Citizens
Utilities in 1978 and KE in 1981. He held several positions at KE before being
named vice president and general manager in 1996.
Prior to joining KE,
Polosky served on the state public utility commissions in California and Nevada
in the 1970s.
He has a masters degree in business administration from the
University of Hawai’i at Manoa and a bachelors degree in electrical
A Kalaheo resident for the past 19 years, Polosky has three
Electric cooperatives are growing in popularity throughout
the mainland, due to the cost savings they provide residential customers.
Nationally, co-op sales grew twice as fast as the total electric industry
average in 1998, and serve 34 million people in 46 states.
editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or