Letters | 6-17-14


Where is free electricity produced by solar going?

About a month ago, West Hawaii Today featured an article about how the poor are paying more for their electricity rate because the wealthy upper class have installed photovoltaic panels and that they are not paying their fair share of the cost to produce electricity, so claims Hawaii Electric Light Co.

First of all, let me inform you that I consider myself and my family to be middle class. I am on a fixed income and my wife is still employed.

I installed PV panels two years ago on a 20-year lease. It cost me nothing, not one penny. I am presently paying $119 per month to the solar complany that sponsored the installation of my PV panels. This rate will increase 3 percent a year based on my kilowatt hours. There is also a $20.50 monthly charge for the use of the electric meter.

For the past 12 out of 13 months, my electric bill indicated that my PV panels produced more electricity than I consumed, so it entered the electric grid back to HELCO. This is electricity that HELCO did not burn a single drop of oil to produce.

What did this electric company do with this free electricity that cost it nothing to produce? It gave it to other customers and charged them for the electricity usage.

So why is HELCO complaining about the owners of PV panels? There must be others like me who are producing electricity into the grid that is really helping HELCO cut the cost to produce the electricity. This would be especially true with PV panels installed in the West Hawaii area with so much sunshine available.

The Public Utilities Commission needs to investigate and find out just how much electricity customers, like me, are producing. Then we will know if we are in fact being a liability to the electric company.

David Yamakawa

Kona