KIUC looks forward and celebrates its membership

Randy Hee, president and CEO of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, was proud that two of the new line trucks were used to hoist the announcement banner for its annual membership meeting.

Those trucks, bearing dirt from the pole planting at the new Kapa‘a Ball Park the day before, wrapped up a busy week by holding the banner securely despite the brisk trades that cooled the Vidinha Stadium soccer fields.

Earlier in the week, line crews from those same trucks were on hand to stand by at the Lydgate substation when a brush fire threatened the structure at one point.

These challenges are just some of the few that are on the KIUC plate for 2007, states the 2006 annual report that was handed out to the steady stream of members who took advantage of food, entertainment and opportunity to voice their concerns to KIUC employees and staff Saturday.

Some of the goals for 2007 include increasing KIUC’s reliability, diversifying its energy and fuel resources and striving to build a strong workforce.

According to the report, despite high oil prices that have burdened KIUC members with high electricity costs, the cooperative has been able to build its equity slightly ahead of its Equity Management Plan recommendation.

The cooperative has returned $15.4 million dollars to its members since 2002, and the Board of Directors approved a 2007 Patronage Capital Retirement payment to members totaling $2.3 million from 2006 margins, the report said.

There are also plans to rebuild the Lydgate substation so it will be indoors and use gas insulation technology to reduce salt corrosion carried inland by winds from the nearby ocean and increase reliability, states the report.

KIUC has signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Green Energy Team to provide 6.4 megawatts of renewable energy from agricultural waste biomass. Additionally, KIUC is pursuing other renewable energy supply projects using winds, hydro, solar biomass and biodiesel.

“There were people standing in line at 9:30, an hour before gates were scheduled to open,” one volunteer said. Part of this was the free giveaway of rice to the first 300 people attending the event.

Volunteers from several community organizations including the Kaua‘i Jr. Young Buddhists of America helped KIUC employees and staff man the registration area as well as distribute food and drink.

Those stations were set up in several different areas on the soccer fields, and despite the strong lineup of entertainment, the overall winner for beating the temperatures that tickled the 90-degree mark was the wide variety of water features that continuously had lines of anxious youngsters, some of which overflowed from the neighboring Speed and Quickness football clinic.

In addition to the free bags of rice, members were given opportunities to get free home CPR kits being distributed by the American Heart Association’s new Kaua‘i Director Cheryl Ann Farrell.

Dave Walker, one of the association’s volunteers, said the free kits, normally valued at more than $30, were being made possible through a grant from the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

The heart association was just one of several community health organizations that offered up information and more giveaways. Mary Williamson and her crew of volunteers from the American Cancer Society even brought an inflatable colon, which attracted a lot of attention.

The free food, good music and discussion of more environmentally friendly power was more than enough to have members leaving smiles across their faces.

For a copy of the 2006 annual report, which contains more detailed information, visit the KIUC offices at 4463 Pahe‘e St. or the Web site at www.kiuc.coop.

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