Find a cooperativethat will truly help us

The July 8 front-page story in The Garden Island (“Kaua’i utility dealmakers

meet In San Francisco”) showed that these Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative

spinmasters just refused to throw in the towel and admit to the people of

Kaua’i that they were using smoke and mirrors to buy Kaua’i Electric from

Citizens Utilities at a price ($270 million) that was grossly unrealistic.

In fact, the very learned lawyer from Princeville, Walter Lewis, wrote a

great letter to the Forum showing that the true indebtedness that we Kauaians

would have been buried with would have been a whopping $700 million if this

“deal” would have gone through. No member of the KIUC team ever talked about

the repayment of the principle on that $270 million loan, but Mr. Lewis ran the

numbers (as did a lot of others), and again the figure came out to an

astronomical three-quarters of a billion dollars.

Kaua’i Electric took in

about $l7 million last year, and the interest alone on that $270 million loan

was about $28 million. So with a yearly debt of $11 million on the income-outgo

of this operation, there is no way our electric rates would not have been

raised. And yet, Mr. Gardiner and his members continually told the people at

about six Island meetings that the rates would remain unchanged for l0

years—later changed to five years.

And we find, according to the article,

Dick Heitman, the KIUC “team leader/ transition leader/CEO (his title

documented on a paper), has said that “he has changed his mind about leaving

the Island and will continue devoting his time to making the transition and

sale successful.” He had told the people that as of July 1, he was bowing out

of the KIUC for personal reasons, which is fine and understandable, but only

the Public Utilities Commission stood in the way of torpedoing this shell game

that the KIUC members were trying to get the people of Kaua’i to accept.

So

one must wonder why he didn’t stick to plan A as he first said and remember

that the county, state, and federal government as interveners gave us a slam

dunk when they concurred with the people that the numbers as proposed just

don’t add up for benefiting the rate payers.

Our County Council has made a

very wise move by agreeing to allocate $50,000 to $l00,000 for an independent

firm to ascertain what Kaua’i Electric is really worth. However, Councilman

Swain felt that our tax dollars shouldn’t be used for this purpose —that

private funds should be used whether it be KIUC funds or from somewhere else.

But factually finding the true price of KE should benefit all of us when

we hopefully move to finding a co-op that will rescue us from the highest

electric rates in the nation to at least somewhere in the middle.

GLENN

MICKENS

Kapa’a

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