Monday, September 14, 2009


BITING THE METER READER: We normally try to scour all of the available resources regarding an issue before we open our fat trap but we must be missing something about the “rate hike” being requested by our Kaua`i Island Utility Co-op (KIUC).

Now don’t get us wrong- this piece of crap co-op has been a scam since day one and we wouldn’t trust anyone who holds an executive staff position or sits on the board – including the two new “people’s reps” who upon seating have suddenly become silent bookends to the corrupt old boys and girls sitting around the table- any farther than an electrical jolt from an exposed wire would throw them.

But we can’t help but wonder what the real effect of the rate hike will be in terms of our bills.

Let’s start with the oft repeated explanation by the KIUC mucky- mucks- the premise behind the “energy adjustment” portion of our monthly bill.

We’ve been told over and over that the actual “base rates” were set more than a decade ago and that in the intervening time the price of oil has skyrocketed so that the “energy adjustment” is simply the difference between the actual cost to provide electricity every month and the amount that “base rate” – one that was established by the PUC would yield.

Fine. But then explain why it matters if that base rate is increased, in terms of the net effect on our bills.

Doesn’t the amount of the energy adjustment go down the same amount the rate goes up?

Presumably the price of oil is not going down and in fact the rate being requested will still result in an "energy adjustment” every month because even the new rate is set below the market rate for fossil fuel.

And presumably, even if the price of oil dipped below the amount the new rate would provide we would then have a negative energy adjustment that month as, we understand, the PUC rate rules provide for.

So what’s the difference if KIUC raises it’s basic rate? Our actual bill shouldn’t be effected at all.

Now of course the “trust issue” and how that plays into it is another matter- perhaps there’s some kind of loophole in the law that negates these premises and conclusions. As we said we often either find out about some provision after we’ve “completed” our research on a subject or, more often, the level of corruption is so high on Kaua`i that KIUC will just flout the law and end up charging us more no matter what the law says.

Of course the request for a rate increase itself should raise our suspicions just because we have to ask why KIUC would be so intent on raising the basic rates if they aren’t going to be colleting more.. as they claim they will be.

But if someone who is fighting hard on our behalf before the PUC to keep the rates where they are- or someone at KIUC who is fighting supposedly to increase their revenues- can explain what the fight is about, we’re all ears.


Note- No, we haven’t shirked examining the latest dust up at the Board of Ethics and the new County Attorney’s opinion. We’re still “shouldering” some severe discomfort and so are still limiting the length of these posts but we’ll try to cover the latest tomorrow or soon thereafter.

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