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House Bill (H.B.) 1999 HD1, now before the Hawaii Legislature, is one of the most important pieces of legislation to be considered for enactment into law.
H.B. 1999 HD1 establishes the Legislative Utility Oversight Task Force to review franchises held by investor-owned electric utilities, specifically, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and its subsidiary utilities, Maui Electric Company (MECO) and Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO)
HECO OPPOSES H.B. 1999 HD1.
HECO is a state-granted monopoly. Denial or Opposition to the review of its processes is not a right or privilege to be invoked by HECO. HECO has been granted the right to be the sole provider of electric power to the people of Hawaii. The self-serving testimony of HECO is subject to review, so are its processes, and its links to its parent, Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) and its sister, American Savings Bank (ASB).
The testimony of the Consumer Advocate and The Blue Planet are instructive and illustrative.
TESTIMONY OF HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANY (HECO)
The Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiary utilities, Maui Electric Company and Hawaii Electric Light Company, OPPOSES H.B. 1999, H.D. 1.
TESTIMONY OF THE CONSUMER ADVOCATE
“The Consumer Advocate APPRECIATES the intent of the H.D.1, which is proposing to regularly evaluate investor-owned utility companies to “ensure that these utilities are adequately providing services that serve the public.” All utility companies should be held accountable for their duty to provide safe, reliable, high quality utility services at affordable rates. The Consumer Advocate APPRECIATES the Legislature’s desire to hold the HECO Companies accountable to their franchise by creating this task force, although much of the work of the task force may be duplicative of what the Commission is already doing.” [Emphasis supplied]
TESTIMONY OF BLUE PLANET FOUNDATION
“As the PUC’s May 2013 order said, “attractive financial returns are not a utility entitlement." But developing the right system—the world-class system that other utilities emulate—should provide attractive value not only for the utility and its shareholders, but also for every resident in the state. As the PUC concluded, “the public interest demands no less.” BLUE PLANET FOUNDATION BELIEVES THAT HB 1999 HD1 WILL HELP IDENTIFY HOW BEST TO ENSURE THAT OUR INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITIES PROVIDE THAT VALUE. THIS INSTITUTIONAL EVOLUTION REGARDING HOW TO REGULATE HAWAII'S LARGEST ELECTRIC COMPANY WILL DETERMINE HOW THE ISLANDS ARE POWERED FOR THE NEXT CENTURY.” [Emphasis supplied]
Transparency, accountability, and responsibility require full disclosure and openness to audit, investigation, inquiry, and review by independent, third-parties and agencies.
The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce has scheduled a Decision Making Hearing, Today, February 12, 2014, 2:00 p.m., Hawaii State Capitol, Room 325.