File video by David Corrigan (June 2015)
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative has entered its first testimony into the HEI-NextEra merger docket.
Marco Mangelsdorf provided the statements to the Hawaii Public Utility Commission. He spoke about his hopes for a Big Island energy cooperative, as he did during a recent public forum in Kona (video above).
Here is an excerpt:
“In HIEC’s Motion to Intervene, we expressed our desire to explore the potential merits of a cooperative ownership structure for electric service on Hawaii Island. We further believe that HIEC potentially represents a unique perspective in this Docket that can assist the Commission in developing a record that includes consideration of the cooperative model as a factor in determining whether the Merger is in the public interest and should be approved. Through its participation in the Docket, HIEC believes that it represents the goals and potential benefits of our cooperative form of utility ownership including, in particular, the following:
• Local, democratic control over one of the most critical infrastructures and public institutions on the island.
• Community-based and community chosen priorities.
• Potentially lower electricity costs over time.
• Improved and greater overall energy independence and sustainability.
• Developing and emphasizing island-produced fuels to provide energy sources.
To be clear, HIEC did not propose in its Motion to Intervene, and does not propose now, that the Commission in this Docket adopt or approve HIEC or any other cooperative mode! for electric utility service. We recognize that HELCO is not for sale as an independent unit but only for sale as a part of the Merger. We have reached no agreement with either of the Applicants regarding any transaction that would allow HIEC to implement an alternative form of ownership as compared to the change of control Merger transaction before this Commission. HIEC does not seek to oppose the Merger in order to develop an alternative proposal or offer.
Rather, HIEC sought to intervene and is participating in this Docket in order to represent the interests of a potential cooperative model with respect to any orders the Commission may enter in this Docket. We do believe that the cooperative form of utility ownership has merit and is uniquely applicable to the goals and aspirations of our Hawaii Island community in this transformational time in the Hawaii energy landscape. Not since King David Kalakaua granted a royal charter to the utility in 1891 has there been an opportunity to consider alternative forms of ownership for any of the Hawaiian Electric Companies. Given that it may be another 100 years before another opportunity of this importance presents itself for consideration, HIEC must use this Docket to explore and promote the potential benefits of the cooperative form of utility ownership for the long- term benefit of our Hawaii Island community.” – Marco Mangelsdorf on July 17, 2015