Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
HILO, Hawaii: Growing consumer dissatisfaction over energy rates on Hawaii Island – the highest in the nation – led to a headline grabbing resolution at the county council’s Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability Committee on Wednesday.
Resolution 297-12, introduced by Hilo councilman and committee chair J Yoshimoto, urges the Hawaii Electric Light Company to renegotiate its power purchase agreement contracts with all independent power producers using renewable resources so that the cost to the consumer is not based on avoided costs.
These avoided costs – which are equal to the price HELCO would have incurred to produce the power itself – are linked to fossil fuels, and the use of independently produced renewable resources have not resulted in consumer savings.
The public was in full support of the resolution…
… many of the testifiers on Wednesday said they would have liked to see a resolution that used stronger wording.
Mililani Trask – who has lately been acting as a consultant to the Innovations Development Group, seeking to develop geothermal resources in Hawaii using a new business model recognizing the rights of native peoples – slammed the relationship that currently exists between HELCO and ORMAT, the company behind the Puna Geothermal Venture.
Council members chastised HELCO officials for giant, full color ads taken out on the back pages of Stephens Media papers recently…
When HELCO president Jay Ignacio took the stage, he had some news for the council members. He told the governing body that the utility and the power producers are already in negotiations, re-examining the existing agreements that use avoided costs.
Council chair Dominic Yagong offered an amendment to the resolution that gave the council the right to follow up on the progress of the utility’s re-negotiation.
The amendment was given the OK, and later, the committee gave the resolution a positive recommendation.