Letters for Wednesday, March 7, 2012

• Planned Parenthood here • Bird sighting • KIUC price tag  

Planned Parenthood here

Like many women in our community, as a young woman with few resources, I was fortunate to be able to receive my annual gynecological exam and reproductive health care from Planned Parenthood of Hawai‘i.

The organization has been a strong advocate for all aspects of women’s health and they work hard to educate people on reproductive issues, breast and gynecological health and human sexuality.

Planned Parenthood was a major resource for me during my work as an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Moving to Kaua‘i, I was disappointed to find there were no Planned Parenthood services available for women in need in this community. This has changed.

I am a proud member of the board of directors of Malama Pono Health Services, and I am pleased to announce the return of Planned Parenthood of Hawai‘i to Kaua‘i.

Malama Pono is helping make this happen by furnishing Planned Parenthood an exam room at our offices at no charge.

Planned Parenthood began providing basic services on Kaua‘i on Feb. 17. They will not be taking appointments and will see clients on a walk-in basis.

Planned Parenthood will offer a limited range of services on Kaua‘i while using our offices. They include pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, contraceptive education and contraceptives.

The board of directors of Malama Pono realizes that Planned Parenthood services on Kaua‘i will assist us to meet our mission to stop the spread of the life threatening diseases of HIV/AIDS, infectious hepatitis and STD’s in our community.

The Malama Pono board of directors affirms its commitment to and strong advocacy for women’s health, and we are happy to facilitate Planned Parenthood’s return to Kaua‘i.

Judy Shabert M.D., M.P.H., Kilauea

Bird sighting   

A new tourist attraction has been added to Kaua‘i. At one of the most pristine beaches on our island and having a national reputation, Po‘ipu Ponds is back as usual after heavy rains.

This time there is a difference. The not commonly seen Hawaiian Stilt is now gathering at the Ponds.

They are a beautiful black and white bird on oversized legs. Come to the latest South Shore attraction. Be prepared, however, for some unpleasant odors, as well as occasional floating Pampers.

I have never seen the Stilts before. Of course, I have seen the flooded parking lots ignored for weeks until the water finally evaporates.

Why this happens, I know, it’s the storms. Why it is ignored by our county government, I do not know.

Perhaps someone would explain the reasons to me. I enjoy the Stilts. Perhaps I would even enjoy, and possibly believe, the explanation that I strongly doubt I will ever receive.

Monroe Richman, Koloa

KIUC price tag

What does $11 million buy? Untested equipment, environmentally unsafe technology, and increased revenues. This is the price tag that we the people of Kaua‘i will have to bear with the roll out of KIUC’s smart meter fiasco.

So what is driving this move by KIUC, which would have them ignore the safety and health issues of such an extensive and expensive roll out? My research points to but one conclusion and that is greed.

It is listed in their very own press release of Oct. 4, 2011: “The new infrastructure will allow KIUC to conduct remote meter readings … and allow the utility to evaluate alternate rate designs.”

In other words, a multi-level tier system of billing based on “peak demand hours.”  

Customers in California were shocked when their monthly utility bills doubled and tripled overnight in their tier system. This has happened in every area that smart meters were installed. The same is planned for Kaua‘i.

By changing their rate structure from a single pro-rated system to a multi-level tier system, KIUC is poised to rake in millions more on the backs of the unsuspecting public. In a tier system, rates are based on “peak demand,” with the highest rates at peak hour usage.

Such a system is the epitome of greed and avarice, for it punishes those who have no other option but to comply to this grand larceny.  

A perfect example of the tyranny of tiers would be price gouging, a recognized crime. If stores starting charging two to three times more for the same groceries between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., arrests would be imminent.

Not so with utility companies, and the officers and board at KIUC know this.

Of the numerous benefits that KIUC has quoted, one and only one is true, the “ability to monitor energy consumption.”  

Two years of factual data exists from the deployment of smart grids from Maine to California, and in all instances not one of the benefits quoted was realized. There were no energy savings. In fact, the utilities themselves used more energy as a result of the grid.

With such a system in place, as on the Mainland, rate increases of 300 percent or more at the highest tiers are the norm, tripling their revenue.

As a nonprofit entity, KIUC should represent its members’ needs, respect their input and concerns, and above all serve in the best interests of responsibility, reliability, accountability and transparency.

Mark Naea, Kapa‘a

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