Another Reason to vote NO!

SOURCE: Ken Taylor ( SUBHEAD: History tells us to vote "NO" on KIUC/FFP deal with FERC. Today is the deadline. By Glenn Mitckins on 7 July 2011 for the Garden Island - ( Image above: Kauai Electric box from the old days. From ( In this highly charged, controversial issue of getting greater hydro power on Kaua‘i — we now have six minor operations going — let’s examine an aspect of the plan that has not been adequately discussed. We hear from Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative the word “trust, trust, trust” over and over. But let’s move back about 10 years when KIUC was in the process of buying Kaua‘i Electric from Citizens Utility and see exactly why or if we should trust what KIUC is proposing to do today. In 2001, a group led by Greg Gardner held a series of meetings around Kaua‘i telling the people that $285 million was the best price at which KE could be bought. Based on strenuous objection from some of our citizens and the Consumer Advocate, the Public Utilities Commission rejected that price. However, in 2002, the PUC approved a $220-million price that was still $50 million over the KE book value. Actually, we noted the ‘Ele‘ele plant that was being bought was a rust bucket and the only good assets we got for this outrageous price were the power lines that had been destroyed by Hurricane Iniki. As a side note, Citizens Utilities’ stock soared on the big board after dumping KE to KIUC — interesting! But back to “trust.” The same investment banker who was part of the “best price deal” in selling KE is an integral part of the Free Flow Power/Federal Energy Regulatory Commission deal being proposed today! And the same legal counsel that was there to advise KIUC in 2001 and 2002 is still the one giving legal opinions to the KIUC Board of Directors and CEO today! If past history is a lesson, we need to heed. Then, with all due respect to our KIUC CEO, we must vote “no” on this ballot measure. As a co-op, we the rate-paying members are the owners. As such, we deserve a voice, and our views should have been included in the Voters Guide, in addition to the self-serving position penned by KIUC management. Nearly everyone wants hydro power on Kaua‘i, as we desperately need to get off the fossil-fuel kick. But, as Kaipo Asing so often said, this whole issue is about the process, and this process has been skewed from the get go. .

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