by Marco Mangelsdorf, Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative, September 29, 2015
Hilo High Cafeteria was packed this evening. More than 60 HIEC shirts passed out onsite in addition to a dozen pre-orders. 100+ buttons given away—some to folks that received shirts, but not all. 50 or so bumper stickers and 10 yard signs with requests for more, if we have extra.
HELCO watched people come thru the Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative pop-up from atop the steps outside the cafeteria.
Testimony ran 10:1 in opposition to the merger--30 folks against, 3 in favor, and 4 neutral.
A handful of pro-geothermal comments came from testifiers as well.
PUC Chair Randy Iwase came over to the tent ahead of time to say hi to his good friend Gerald DeMello (a HIEC director) and in his opening remarks noted he had friends in our group. Commissioner Lorraine Akiba wasn’t there. Randy runs a very good meeting.
There was lots of love from the audience when testifiers mentioned HIEC.
Most who spoke were against the merger and many many also in favor of HIEC. There were a lot of folks there who did not speak.
There were more pro-merger people there than appeared. They didn’t raise their hands when asked if they supported, but I recognized many of them. HELCO was represented in full force, and Eric Gleason was there.
There were at least 250 people there. There were no outbursts or raging. Everyone was pretty respectful.
One anti-smart meter guy spoke about the evils, from NSA to illness, of smart meters and he got some positive clapping. There were a few anti-geothermal mentions.
HIEC was well represented in the crowd.
It was over just before 8 pm.