Public should not have to pay for HECO’s failures

By: Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Letter to the Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, August 11, 2009

The Public Utilities Commission has let us down.

The public should not have to suffer because of HECO’s failed investments.

I feel that HECO’s justification for its PUC-approved rate hike in your July 9 article is disingenuous because nowhere did it mention that HECO has accumulated $1.4 billion worth of debt. In fact, you reported on July 21 that Moody’s Investors Service has lowered its rating outlook for Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.’s debt from stable to negative.

How can O’ahu residents be sure that the rate hike will be used for new capital investment projects and not to help pay down HECO’s debt? In the meantime, all of us will have to take on this added burden at a time we can least afford it.

The PUC should feel ashamed for how badly it has let us down. It does not have the public’s interest at heart.

The PUC Commission should be named instead of being left to one’s imagination as an autonomous body.

Is the public really being kept informed about whether the members have conflicts of interest with any of these utility companies?