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Friday, September 4, 2015
Ward: Coop Does not Mean Lower Rates
By Rep Gene Ward @ 2:28 PM :: 3682 Views :: Energy

ELECTRICAL COOPERATIVE OWNERSHIP MODEL

Statement by Representative Gene Ward commending his colleagues for considering an electrical cooperative ownership model, but says it may miss the mark for lower rates.

News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward September 3, 2015

Honolulu - The following statement was released by Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) following a meeting this morning of lawmakers at the State Capitol who expressed their disaffection with the latest NextEra proposal and offered an alternative in the form of an electrical cooperative.

“I am in complete favor of Hawaii’s 100% renewable energy goals by 2045, and I also do not support the NextEra buyout of Hawaiian Electric because of its minimalist approach to rooftop solar and savings to ratepayers.  However, NextEra benefits to our ratepayers and its commitment to reach the state’s renewable energy goals lack credulity.

While I applaud my colleagues for bringing the cooperative option to the table as an alternative to NextEra, I believe this option misses the point.

First and foremost, we must strive for lower rates for consumers.  I am not sure a cooperative business model can do this.  The only model we have in Hawaii is Kauai Island Utility and its rates are among the highest in the State and nation.

Second, I do not believe the ownership structure in and of itself will make the difference.  What Hawaii needs is a game plan that benefits consumers and our environment.  Rooftop solar, wind, wave energy and bio-fuels all need to be used to together, and ownership structure does not determine this.

Third, and most importantly, the Public Utilities Commission exists to regulate the utility.  I believe we have historically given it a pass for failing to hold HECO’s feet to the fire.  We must hold it accountable to ratepayers, fuel adjustments, and the state of affairs that we have today.

Otherwise, I have no objections to considering a cooperative model.”

***

RELATED: Lawmakers Call for Exploration of Publicly Owned Utilities for Hawaii

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