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Letters 10-24-2012

Electric rates

The county should ‘municipalize’ HELCO to lower costs

This is in response to HELCO’s recent expensive whole-page ads, timed to come before the upcoming Public Utilities Commission’s meetings to ask for an increase to the already highest electric rate in the country:

The avoided cost contracts on geothermal, wind and hydroelectric energy show a total lack of foresight on the part of the company for its negotiations and the Public Utility Commission for approving those contracts.

Rates could have been much better negotiated — if the goal was to minimize costs to the customers.

Operating costs of 27 percent of revenue are high in any standard, even with the rural nature of the island. The PUC and the consumer advocate should look to reduce them.

The return on investment allowed by PUC and consumer advocate (22.1 percent shareholder return cited in the Herald-Tribune April 12) is among the highest rates in the nation, especially when the economy is as slow as it is now and the inflation rate is less than 1 percent.

I would propose a better mix of power generation investments: geothermal for base and intermediate load and gas turbines for peak loads.

I am putting out a new idea, if our county people are strong-minded enough to act like many municipalities on the mainland.

The county should “municipalize” HELCO and renegotiate all the contracts and manage our own electric system.

I am sure that the electric rates would be at least halved if this were accomplished.

Chieu T. Nguyen


Setting an example

Job training mahalo

Congratulations and thank you to Honokaa High School and Hawaii Community College for the terrific cooperation in providing job training to our students.

They are setting an example by making education relevant so students want to learn math and science.

These schools have established a wonderful partnership that makes learning practical and fun. Hopefully, more will follow around our island.

Joyce O’Connor