KIUC board candidate forums begin next week

LIHU‘E — Apollo Kaua‘i is working with five community organizations to provide an expanded series of forums to meet candidates for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors.

“We are providing support to various host groups and thought this was the way to reach people around the island with a place nearby to go meet the candidates,” Sharry Glass, co-chair of Apollo Kaua‘i, said Monday. “The final number of candidates won’t be

announced for a couple of weeks. It is likely to be at least nine people.”

Ballots with the names of  board candidates will be sent to KIUC members on March 4 and are due back by March 24. Voters will be replacing outgoing members Stewart “Stu” Burley, Steve Rapozo and Ben Sullivan, whose terms have expired.

Glass said only 25 percent to 30 percent of the co-op’s membership tends to vote in the board elections. A more active membership would create a more effective board and help move the sustainability movement forward, Glass said.

“This is really important, and it affects all of us,” she said. “It will make a more democratic board.”

• Apollo Kaua‘i and the Hanalei to Haena Community Association will hold a forum at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Hanalei School Cafeteria.

• E Ola Mauna Leo O Kekaha will co-host a forum at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Kekaha School cafeteria.

• The Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Kaua‘i Community College will co-host a forum at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Kaua‘i Community College.

• Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association will co-host a forum at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Kapa‘a Library.

• The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and Lihu‘e Business Association will co-host a forum at 7:30 a.m. on March 1 in Room 106 of the Office of Continuing Education & Training at Kaua‘i Community College.

The forums will address topics ranging from rising electric bills and smart meter technology to the planned transition to sustainable energy sources and escalating fuel costs to build a renewable infrastructure.

KIUC is a nonprofit, member-controlled power cooperative that serves more than 32,000 electric accounts throughout Kaua‘i.

The co-op board makes the decisions concerning power and electric that affect the entire island. The account holders vote for three candidates per year to contribute to making these choices.

Glass said several candidates have gone through an endorsement process. Others are running by petition, and the co-op is currently validating signatures.

Apollo Kaua‘i is a group of residents who promote sustainable energy through social and environmental education and advocacy.

“Apollo Kaua‘i’s whole focus is to try to eliminate burning oil for electricity and using clean and renewable sources,” she said. “We are hoping they will find hydro a possibility that will fit in socially, environmentally and culturally with Kaua‘i.”

For information contact Sharry Glass at 822-7351.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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