Open letter back to KIUC board

SUBHEAD: KIUC press release tries to increase trust of its members and steers them away from other's opinions.  

By Juan Wilson on 6 May 2012 for Island Breath -

Image above: KIUC is "Your Touchstone Energy Cooperative". See Touchstone Energy’s fleet of hot air balloons that will be carrying the spirit of electric cooperatives into blue skies across the nation in 2012 by burning lots of natural gas. From (

Apparently alternative media is having some impact on the Board of KIUC. Today they issued a press release/email titled "Open Letter from KIUC Board" explaining themselves to a frustrated membership. It seems their feelings are hurt because they are "criticized and second-guessed". No Surprises Here They claim:
"More than anything else, we hear from people who are frustrated by the size of their electric bills."
That may be so. We have do the highest rate for electricity in the country. But that shouldn't be too much of a surprise. For one thing, KIUC was cursed from the get go by taking on $240 million in debt to acquire the failing Kauai Electic utility a decade ago.

We still owe $190 million - significantly more than than the company was worth. Paying off that adds to our bill every month. KIUC has done little over the last decade to destroy demand. We live in one of the most isolated places in the world. It costs extra to get fuel here.

Despite that, KIUC encourages us expect to our electric juice 24/7/365 and in copious American sized servings. Is that to pay off the burdensome debt? KIUC lost a decade in moving towards alternatives to diesel fuel. Only recently have they begun serious efforts to incorporate photo-voltaic as a power generating source, but only after third parties demonstrated the practicality PV. KIUC has been behind the curve all the way. The KIUC plan to provide 50% alternative energy by 2023 is too little tool late.

My prediction is that in the next few years it will become impossible for KIUC to finance large energy projects. Consequently KIUC will never reach generating 50% of what we use today with alternative sources. Here on Kauai it is likely that oil will become too precious for us too burn for power on demand 24/7/365 .

That means that unless you have PV panels or a wind generator on your roof you'll have access to less than half the energy your using now. Maybe that is the secret of KIUC's program for demand destruction.  

Constant power - Constant movement
The central thrust of KIUC's planning for the future is the continued 24/7/365 reliability of the power grid. This is not surprising. That is how power utilities are run throughout America. It's not unlike America's commitment to the 24/7/365 access to nation-wide interstate highway system - Boston to Pheonix without a stop sign.

That may have been the way of the second half of the 20th century - but it is not the way of the future. KIUC has done little to understand or accommodate that future. It's probably because, as KIUC is currently operating, there is no place for them in the future. The KIUC press release also states;
"Opinions disguised as facts are amplified, repeated and distorted in letters, on blogs, on the radio and in public meetings. It's no wonder people are confused about what we're up to."... "Just don't expect to get the whole story from bumper stickers, YouTube videos and letters to the editor."
Well if it were not for the blogs, letters to the editor, and public statements of individuals we would have little knowledge of:
  1. Dateline 2009 - The weakness of the Pacific West Energy deal to sell cane sugar based ethanol to KIUC from the converted Kaumakani mill.
  2. Dateline 2010 - That in preparing for building another fossil fuel generator and increasing its debt load, KIUC relied on out-dated demand forecasts. A setup for bad decision-making.
  3. Dateline 2011 - The Free Flow Power/KIUC hydro-electric power deal that the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission called a "type of unwarranted 'claim-jumping'".
  4. Dateline 2012 - The possibility of staff member appointments to Board Committees would have VOTING RIGHTS on the committees - diminishing the little influence members have on board decisions.
Given my meager knowledge of the KIUC board of directors I was surprised all signed this press release. Namely: Teofilo Tacbian, Carol Bain, Karen Baldwin, Pat Gegen, David Iha, Calvin Murashige, Allan Smith, Jan TenBruggencate, and Peter Yukimura. I urge the board to realize that KIUC does not operate as a co-operative endeavor and should. Instead, in their open letter they advise us that:
"We represent you, so please read Currents, check out our website and sign up for our emails."
If you represent us then you should be listening us , not telling us using expensive PR blitzes. You do end your letter with what must be a reluctant request - "Talk to us". But that is exactly what we are trying to do. Since you make it difficult to do so in your public meetings it will mean you have to hear our blogs, letters to the editor and radio commentary.

 See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: KIUC Power Play 4/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Say NO to KIUC/FFP Deal! 6/13/11 .

1 comment :

elaine said...

Good job, Juan.
Thereʻs no doubt they shut the public AND members out.
But, you are correct that the bad decisions are too glaring and they have to come forward with an ʻattemptʻ at damage control.
And they sure have provided a lot of damage to: membersʻ rights, constitutional rights, health and financial. And I believe they are too low on the totem pole of brain cell distribution to even know that.
By the time people start getting their adjusted bills it will be too late and they know it.
Mahalo to you and everyone that has worked so hard to expose KIUCs board members of squandering everyoneʻs investment through inept and arrogant management.
The signers arenʻt really signers if they are under DURESS. And the boardʻs gag order on its employees is their only advantage.
Some board members need to figure out a way to eject the non-disclosure policy.
But then, no doubt, all the campaigning promises are out the window now that theyʻre part of the ʻin-crowdʻ at the board. Pitiful little minds and too bad there are no more men or women that havenʻt had their spines and integrity replaced with paychecks.

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