Shame, Shame, Shame Hawaii State Legislators For Giving Hawaiian Electric Power to Raise Rates Without Consumer Intervention
From Charlene on Green 5-20-11 (excerpted)
After endless searching and reading through months of legislative journals and documents, there was only one voice in the Hawaii Legislator that stood up with reservation against SB1347 - which if signed by Governor Abercrombie gives full power to two private companies Aina Koa Pono-Ka'u and Hawaiian Electric to charge customers for putting in biofuel station - and charge customers for every penny of it on the electric bill - but without customer input….
(On Third Reading before the House, April 12, 2011) Representative Thielen rose to speak in support of the measure with reservations, stating:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m rising with reservations about the bill.
“Thank you. If the Members would turn to page 7 of the bill, this is another measure that pretty much solely benefits Hawaiian Electric. And on page 7 of the bill it states that an electric utility company, which basically is Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries, they can recover through an automatic rate adjustment clause, the electric utility company’s revenue requirement. This is in relation to any cost and expenses of a renewable portfolio of the electric utility company.
“So again, the Commission can establish a separate automatic rate adjustment clause or approve the use of a previously approved automatic adjustment rate clause without a rate case filing. It’s those last five words that are the key words. Without a rate case filing means that there’s no opportunity for the Consumer Advocate to be a part of that process to say on behalf of the consumer, ‘We don’t believe that this rate increase is legitimate. We don’t believe you should authorize it.’
“So once again, you have an automatic rate adjustment going upward for the ratepayers. It shows up on their utility bill, but no intervention by the Consumer Advocate to protect the consumer. Thank you.”
Representative Marumoto rose and asked that the Clerk record an aye vote with reservations for her, and the Chair “so ordered.”
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Rep. Thielen on SB1347 Renewable Energy Portfolio
RELATING TO THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.
Report Title: Public Utilities; Electronic Filing; Renewable Portfolio Standard; Gasoline dealers; Public Utilities Commission; Civil Penalty
Description: Directs the Public Utilities Commission to accept filings and applications electronically no later than January 1, 2012. Allows use of automatic rate adjustment clause to meet revenue requirement when electric utility company and its electric utility subsidiaries aggregate their renewable portfolios to meet renewable portfolio standards. Requires the Public Utilities Commission to impose a civil penalty against gasoline dealers who violate the law. Requires the Attorney General to institute a civil action for civil penalties not paid in a timely manner. Effective July 1, 2030. (SB1347 HD2)
Hawai`i Free Press May 7, 2011: Legislature votes to force Ratepayers to bail out biofuel project
SB 1347, a bill requiring the PUC to accept electronic submissions, was amended in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce to allow an electric company to aggregate its renewable portfolio and "distribute, apportion or allocate" the costs among the "electric company, its electric utility affiliates and their respective ratepayers, as is reasonable under the circumstances," according to the bill.
The surcharge is part of an agreement between HELCO and Aina Koa Pono, the company planning a plant that would microwave 900 tons of biomass daily, producing 24 million gallons of biodiesel and 8 million gallons of biogasoline per year. The facility also will generate electricity, primarily for its own use.
HELCO President Jay Ignacio emphasized the project isn't a done deal yet. The bill, should it be signed by the governor, simply gives the PUC the authority to spread the cost over multiple utilities; it doesn't require the PUC to do so.
"Ultimately, it will be up to the PUC," Ignacio said Friday.
The project suffered a setback in March when the PUC ruled HELCO couldn't spread the costs by raising rates $1.55 to $1.85 a month on customers of HELCO, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Maui Electric Co.
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