KIUC PUC Meeting Aftermath

SUBHEAD: Testimony that summarizes best arguments against rate hike. You can still testify.

By Brad Parsons on 25 August 2009 in Aloha Analyitics -


image above: Still from KIUC rate hike PUC Hearing on Kauai 2/25/09 To view video click here

  [Editor's Note: While Wednesday’s public hearing was KIUC members’ best opportunity to voice their opinions in person, the PUC will accept testimony on Docket No. 2009-0050 for 10 days after the meeting, a PUC representative confirmed Wednesday. Testimony can be e-mailed to or mailed to PUC, 465 South King St., Room 103, Honolulu, HI 96813. Reference Docket No. 2009-0050.]

EXAMPLE TESTIMONY: Aloha Commissioners, First, thank you for coming to the island of Kaua'i to received testimony in person from the ratepayers on this matter. This matter is central to the future way of life on Kaua'i. Recently a study group of concerned citizens and KIUC ratepayers (Kauaians for a Bright Energy Future) formed to thoroughly evaluate the docket on this case.

 In our group are doctors, lawyers, economists, and acknowledged energy utility experts. At least three of our members reviewed the entire 1300 plus pages of the PUC docket on this case, all KIUC referenced planning documents, and all public KIUC Board Meeting minutes over the period in which KIUC was planning this filing. Of particular note, I would like to recommend your close attention to the written testimonies you may receive on this matter from Henry Curtis, Walter Lewis, and Ken Stokes. They have each done excellent review, analysis, and evaluation of the entire record on this case. To summarize some of the key points from them:

1. Of the 7 demands that KIUC makes in this rate case, they fail to show proper due diligence in evaluating the various alternatives that are available to deal with rates, revenue, earnings, and debt service requirements presented in this case. Furthermore, KIUC does not appear to have followed the law on the requirement to shape the ERAC/COPA fuel adjustment into a mechanism to prod the utility into increasing the use of renewable energy.

2. The exact circumstances and magnitude of how KIUC has lost money in 5 of the last 8 months suggests that there is a problem with the way rates are set each month. Only one of those months had a significant loss. The rest of those months suggest KIUC has a management discretionary rate-setting problem, not a regulatory rate case problem. If management had done a better job of setting monthly rates, there would be no perceived 'financial crisis.' The loss of $3.3 million during a single month (December) seems to have triggered a concern for maintaining the "debt coverage" (which is what TIER atempts to measure), yet this situation has already been turned around. In July, the TIER was back above 1.25, which is the minimum required by KIUC's lenders. As it stands now, in June, July, and August there have been no revenue, earnings, nor TIE performance problems for KIUC. KIUC fails to show proper necessity in this rate case.

 3. There is no longer a need to rush through a rate increase, and KIUC can go ahead and finish its study on rate design which was noticeably absent from KIUC's filings in this docket. Of particular note for a new rate design would the prospect of inverted block rates where heavier users are charged higher rates and lesser users are charged lower rates thus fostering energy conservation.

Many ratepayers are concerned because KIUC sees falling or stagnant electricity demand as a problem, yet most experts and KIUC's own Strategic Planning documents acknowledge this is our best short-term solution for dealing with the necessary energy transformation throughout Hawaii in the years ahead. The energy business is changing, and KIUC must change with it. This is a huge opportunity, not a threat.

Yet, it must be faced head-on. Asking us to believe that "tweaking" the rates higher will "fix" the problem is simply not credible. In conclusion, we consider this rate case application to be incomplete and to contain materially false assumptions. We respectfully request that the Commission seriously consider the issues that have been raised by the above referenced testimonies. Mahalo, Brad Parsons

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: PUC Testimony 8/25/09 
 Ea O Ka Aina: Let's encourage solar power 3/17/09


Mauibrad said...

I thought fellow editor here, David Ward's testimony was the best. Second best was Scott Mijares. Third best was Ken Taylor.


Anonymous said...

Careful there Brad, you would not like to lose your credibility by being too kind. My delivery needs lots of work. That is why I went last, so only the hard core would have to endure it. I think we can be proud of the entire community everyone there gave informative heartfelt testimony. Your answers to the commissioners difficult questions was astounding. They asked the right person. Thanks setting a high bar. David

Anonymous said...

ALl testimonies are important, no matter who writes. them U didnt even see mine yet haha ps i luv u guys. i was too ill to attend, but am glad that i can do it this way watch for my testimony TY it is very different because i am not focusing on those money concepts but on the emotionality of the issue, especially for those of us whom are already hi jacked from the state and not allowed alternative energy rescource options. I mean of course those of us in public housing facilities. We are forced to pay for electricity we have no choice in the matter. SO watch for my testimony.

Sincerely Anne M Punohu
Thank u to Aloha Analytics for always printing my stuff.

Anonymous said...

PUC Meeting Testimony Island OF Kauai
Late Testimony, August 28, 2009

Anne Punohu
Kauai Fair Housing Law Coaltion
State Housing Tenant
Speaking As:
Private Citizen, Coop Member

4417 Maka Road
Kalaheo Hi Kauai

I am addresing you today as a private citizen, mother of 2, single parent, public housing tenant, rate payer and community activist.

We are fortunate in housing to have help with our utilities. We do not pay for our gas, or our water. A few years ago, the policy was changed that we all had to pay for our electricity.
When I moved into our unit, I was very grateful that we had a gas water heater and stove.

However, since this past year, I have become ill and unable to work. Last month I became disabled and this is my first month on social security. Although my rent is quite low, and we are very frugal with our electricity, it has always been a struggle to pay it.

I remember many times over the years, when I was working several jobs at a time, which do I do first, pay all the rent, or pay the electricity? Sometimes have been shut off, or gone on a limiter. It has been a struggle for many families here.

As a renter, I have never really had an option of the kind of utilities I can have. I cant really have wind or solar power, because I live in state public housing. Our units are old. We are lucky the water gas and electric work. The staff works hard to keep everything in working order.

But wouldnt it be wonderful if we could have solar or wind generated power at our public housing facilities? It would be terrific not only for us to be able to save a little money, but for our children to see an opportunity for better paying jobs by seeing how these new ideas actually work.

Ever go to a public housing facility? There are no dryers allowed. We dry everything with sunpower. A lot of our septic systems are old, so sometimes washing machines fill things up. But we could really benefit from solar panels on our rooftops. Or solar water heating.
Or wind generated power. It would maybe give us a sense of pride and accomplishment that at least we were doing our part.

Unfortunately for us we dont have those options. As an environmentalist, its hard for me to fight for the environment, knowing that I have to pay an electrical bill using traditional oil based means, because I live in a place where there are no other options.

If you are going to further burden the poorest of the poor, and the struggling families with more of the same, I think then, that I vehemently object to any more rate increases.

I want you to take the money that is given for our electricity bills and use it to create partnerships with Public Housing Facilities to put in solar and wind where you can, to help us to reduce our electricity bills and save a little money and get ahead.

I know this letter is not filled with a lot of complicated terminology about tiers and rates. This is one subject matter that is not my forte. But I do know the simple complications of my life, and what this rate increase will mean to me and my family.

I hope that you, the commissioners, can see the potential for our public housing facilities to be a terrific place to apply new technologies that can give us more pride in where we live, help to reduce both our costs, and the state costs overall, and not burden us any more with a higher bill.

I am also urgently requesting that any stimulus money given to renovating any and all public housing facilities in the state be utilized for upgrading utility services to include solar and wind alternatives when and where applicable.

I am also formally requesting that partnerships be forged between the tenants of pub lic housing facilities, the PUC, and the Public Housing Authority to adress these upgrades and work diligently to see them come to fruition.

Anne M Punohu
Island of Kauai

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