KIUC doing the job it was created to do

A recent letter to the editor criticized the organization of the Kauai`i Island Utility Co-op (KIUC) and inaccurately described the business practices of KIUC. This is an attempt to correct some of those inaccuracies.

Let me begin with a history of KIUC. In September of 1999, a group of Kaua`i residents came together to form the co-op as a not-for-profit corporation. The purpose for forming the cooperative was to bid for and acquire Kaua`i Electric (KE).

KIUC was incorporated on Nov. 6, 1999.

The KIUC board’s mission was to not only take action to arrest Kauai’s electric rates, but also make Federal Emergency Management Agency funding available for hurricane recovery and make KE a locally-owned and operated business.

The board of KIUC is made up of 13 business and community leaders. The original incorporating board members were selected for their business expertise and for their demonstrated interest in making Kaua`i a better place to live. In our early discussions with our private-sector lender, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Finance Corporation, they expressed a desire to have a stable board through the transition period and through the beginnings of new ownership. It was suggested and agreed to that the initial board sit for up to six years. This would allow the opportunity for the company to get up and running and help ensure that promises made were kept, as well as maintaining continuity of corporate memory while moving from the negotiating phase into the transition phase and finally into the governance phase.

The first election will be in September of 2001; the next will be in September of 2003, with another election occurring in September of 2005. In each election, approximately one-third of the board will be up for election.

The board works without compensation and agrees to spend between 24 and 30 days per year working on KIUC matters. In addition, each director agrees to attend the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association training courses and become certified as an electric cooperative director.

The board is a group of business leaders and professionals who want to make a difference on Kaua`i now and for generations yet to come. KIUC operates on sound business policies and practices and returns profits, or margins, to its members.

KIUC encourages participation by its membership and will make decisions based on their input. KIUC will keep service and reliability levels high while keeping rates as low as possible.

Gregg Gardiner is chairman of the Kauai’i Island Utility Co-op.

The Public Utilities commission is expected to make a decision next week on whether or not to approve Kaua’i Island Utility Co-op’s purchase of Kaua’i Electric from Citizens’ Utilities.

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