Candidate by petition: Joanne Georgi

LIHU‘E — With six small-scale hydroelectric projects, a 12-megawatt solar farm and an island-wide rollout of smart meters on the horizon, it’s arguably the most significant time in the history of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.

Nine co-op members are competing for three three-year seats on the board of directors in this year’s election.

To help introduce these candidates to the community, The Garden Island posed six questions to each. A different candidate’s response is being published each day from Feb. 23 to March 2.

KIUC will mail member ballots on March 5. The deadline for members to cast their votes is March 24.

TGI requested that the responses be limited to 100 words.

Joanne Georgi’s answers TGI’s questions.

Q: Why are you running for a seat on the board of directors?

A: I am running for the KIUC board because I don’t feel they are making appropriate financial decisions. When they spend $2,000 for a full-page ad in The Garden Island newspaper (when the information could be inserted into our bill), donate $2,500 to a local radio station (why?) and give out  calendars that are  sold for 25 cents at the Wilcox Memorial Hospital thrift store, I do not feel this is money well spent. Why do they have four people in advertising and promotion? We are a co-op, after all. Where else can we get our electricity?

Q: Why do you believe you are the best choice for the board?

A: I am the only candidate talking about the uncontrolled spending by the current board of directors.

Q: What should KIUC do to improve its services to members?

A: They need to cut all unnecessary costs, such as Currents magazine. The information we need could be inserted into our bills, reaching all the members, not just some. There should be an annual survey on customer satisfaction and what KIUC could do to improve it. They could eliminate the $10.58 transmission line fee. The Department of Water does not charge us for the water lines into our home. Why does KIUC?

Q: What should KIUC do to help members reduce energy costs?

A: Members must be educated to save energy and be offered incentives to reduce energy consumption. KIUC could do energy audits in specific areas, not just on demand. Offering audits to all homes in a subdivision could minimize energy auditor travel costs, as well as offering solutions common to that group of homes. The biggest potential savings going forward is to minimize the amount of petroleum we import through the use of renewable energy.

Q: If you could change one thing about the co-op, what would it be?

A:  I would live stream all of the committee meetings so we could truly have member participation, not have everything done behind closed doors and then rubber-stamped at the monthly board meetings.

Q: Briefly, please describe your advanced education and most significant professional contributions that would be transferable to KIUC.

A: I have a degree in business administration from Western Michigan University and have worked for IBM, Merrill Lynch and Pitney Bowes. My husband Bill and I taught Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University seminar at our church.

To meet the candidates in person, the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and Lihu‘e Business Association will co-host a candidate forum at 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Room 106 of the Office of Continuing Education and Training at Kaua‘i Community College.

A co-op member becomes a candidate after being selected by the KIUC Nominating Committee or by submitting a petition with 35 signatures from co-op members.

In addition to second-term incumbents Steve Rapozo and Stewart “Stu” Burley, the nominating committee selected Lesther Calipjo, Joel Guy and Calvin Murashige for the ballot.

Candidates running by member petition include Georgi, Ken Stokes, Pat Gegen and Karen Baldwin.

∫ Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 251, or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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