KIUC afraid of residential PV

SUBHEAD: KIUC - "Not everyone needs a solar PV system. Unless you're in a big rush to spend $25,000."

By Juan Wilson on 8 October 2013 for Island Breath -

Image above: Multiple Mr Smiths from "The Matrix". From (

Below are two messages from our (sic) cooperatively owned and operated electric utility, KIUC. The first is a disincentive for cooperative members to put solar PV on their roofs to generate their own power. Read it a weep for our future.

KIUC has been behind the curve getting solar up and going. They are now worried that an enlightened public will take see the writing on the wall and take advantage of currently cheap PV panel prices and not need KIUC's grid... particularly if they add battery storage.

KIUC needs members to pay off their heavy debt. They need you on the teat of the grid. In their pathetic ad they exaggerate the cost of PV and the effectiveness of getting solar hot water.


Not everyone needs a $25,000 solar photovoltaic system.

Installing a solar water heater is the cheapest, easiest way for most Kauai' households to save at least 40 percent on their electric bill.

Water heaters use more electricity than any other appliance. Using the sun to heat water can save you around $80 to $100 a month, maybe more, depending on the size of your family.

Right now, KIUC is offering a $1,000 rebate toward the purchase and installation of a solar water heater. With the rebate and state and federal tax credits, your final cost could be less than $2,000.

So do the math yourself and see how much money you can save just by using a solar water heater.

Unless you're in a big rush to spend $25,000.

CaII 246-4300 or go to for a list of approved contractors and information about how you can start saving.

Above: Text of KIUC ad in Kauai Midweek magazine for October 9th 2013 distributed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Below KIUC  puts out a press release on their plan for a $10 monthly charge to regular members for keeping their "dumb" electric meters (about 10% of customers). This, they claim, is to maintain "fairness".

Actually, KIUC will be collecting vast quantities of user information about appliance use consumption patterns gathered by "smart" meter technology that will use WIFI to monitor your home in detail. This information will be sold by KIUC as marketing data to appliance distributors, electronics manufacturers and marketing firms.

Don't be surprised to see a GE refrigerator ad pop up in one of your future Google searches asking if you old GE Model 1030 has enough cubic feet and suggesting you trade up to a new and improved product.

Don't forget use by NSA, DEA and police to monitor the amount of infrared lighting you are using in the shed outside or the number of computers you use inside.

Smart Meter - The Stationary Drone!

Better you should keep your old meter until you can get those panels on the roof and a few batteries. Then you can live within you PV means and cut off KIUC entirely.  With the savings build out your system with more panels and batteries.

You won't be the only one doing this. In 2010 the PMRF committed to getting off KIUC by 2015. This by Sophie Cocke from Pacific Business News on 8/31/10;
The Pacific Missile Range Facility in Barking Sands, Kauai, aims to generate all its electricity off-grid by 2015.

The goal is part of a clean-energy initiative under way at the Naval facility that employs between 900 and 1,300 workers...

...The missile range’s advances are part of a larger military effort to help Hawaii meet its goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030 as well as aggressive measures under way on a national level to reduce dependency on imported petroleum.

Risks of disruption to foreign oil supplies, rising costs of a declining resources and concerns about the security of the nation’s electric grids have spurred efforts to cultivate alternative-energy sources and curtail energy use, according to reports from the U.S. Pacific Command and the Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board.

Security of the electric grid is of particular concern.

“A fragile domestic electricity grid makes our domestic military installations, and their critical infrastructure, unnecessarily vulnerable to incident, whether deliberate or accidental,” according to a report by the Center Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board...
KIUC has planned badly and will be hurt by their mistakes.That does not have to include you if you can change your expectations.

For even as few hundred dollars can get you a PV capability and battery storage to provide lighting at night for reading. I encourage all on a tight budget to start small and test your way into the solar energy alternative.

With some knowledge you can then set up a system that you can grow into meeting most of your needs for a fraction of $25K. Perhaps the toughest challenge is carrying that refrigerator and freezer load. See Island Breath: No Refrigeration for 30 Years 6/29/08, Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Power Down - Round II 1/13/12

See also:
Ea O Ka AIna: CUIK > KIUC 5/8/12
Maybe its time to abandon KIUC for a more useful Cooperative Utility for the Island of Kauai. 

Old Meter Monthly Charge

SUBHEAD: KIUC wants people to pay a monthly fee to get no benefit.

By Staff of KIUC on 2 October 2013 in Hawaii Freee Press -

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) will ask the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve a $10.27 monthly charge to customers who don’t use the utility’s standard meter, a wireless “smart meter.”

About 10 percent of the utility's 30,000 customers have opted not to use the smart meters. KIUC estimates the cost of reading and servicing those 3,000 meters to be about $340,000 a year. That works out to just under $1 a month for every one of the cooperative's members.

“We’ve said all along that we would calculate the cost of allowing customers to opt-out of the smart meter program,” said David Bissell, president and CEO of the cooperative. “Our members have made it clear they want us to keep their bills as low as possible, so rather than asking the entire membership to bear the labor-intensive cost of old technology, we believe it's fair to assign the cost to the members who have chosen to keep the old meters.”

The PUC, which would have to approve the charge, said in a recent decision on a related matter that it "supports an electric utility's efforts to recover the full costs of servicing non-standard meters."

The $10.27 monthly charge reflects the costs of sending a technician to a home or business to read the meter, as well as the required vehicles and equipment.

KIUC had previously asked the PUC to approve a one-time charge from customers who choose to replace their existing meter with a non-standard meter. This one-time charge covers the cost of installing and replacing these meters.

In a Sept. 27 decision, the PUC indicated that it preferred to review not only the one-time charge being proposed by KIUC, but also “all on-going costs to service non-standard meters.”

Based on this direction from the PUC, KIUC will seek approval of the monthly service charge on all customers with a non-standard meter, in addition to the one-time charge for customers who ask to switch to non-standard meters.

The one-time charge would be $50.64 for residential meters. Proposed one-time charges for non-standard commercial meters range from $65.64 to $138.80.

The charges proposed by KIUC are similar to those charged by utilities using smart meters on the Mainland. California utilities charge a $75 set-up fee and $10 a month to customers who opt-out. In Las Vegas, customers who opt-out pay a $52.86 set-up charge and $8.82 a month.

Smart meters use wireless technology to transmit data on electrical use. KIUC plans to introduce a free online portal that customers can use with their smart meter to track their electric use. Nearly 1,000 of KIUC’s customers already use a digital display that collects data from the smart meter to allow the customer to view their energy use in real-time.



Gelfling said...

I'm hoping to be in the market for solar panels and batteries sometime early next year, perhaps January. Maybe if a lot of us got together to buy at the same time we could get a bulk rate...?

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Gelfling,

I'm interested/ I'm lloking to expand my system some. PV panel prices are not as much a hurdle as battery storage for me. What are your thoughts on storage?


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