Richard Ha writes:
Because the Big Island pays 25 percent more for its electricity than O‘ahu does, it follows that Big Island schools have 25 percent less of their budgets available to pay teachers than O‘ahu's schools. Did you ever think about it this way?
Some Big Island school complexes (an area's elementary, middle and high school) are paying around $1 million/year just for electricity. As compared with O‘ahu, that's around $250,000/year that isn't going toward teachers and other education services. At $70K per teacher, that could be three full time-teachers, for instance.
On top of the Big Island having paid 25 percent more for its electricity than O‘ahu for as long as anyone can remember, our Puna district has one of the lowest median family incomes in the state.
And what's the best predictor of family income? Level of education. Therefore, one of many benefits of cheaper electricity is that a lot more of our schools' money would go toward educating our children. Lowering the cost of electricity would allow Puna schools more resources to focus on teachers and learning, and it follows that this could lead to increased median family incomes.
Geothermal done in a responsible manner can lower the cost of electricity. But we all must work together. It's great that HELCO is moving forward with low-cost alternatives, such as calling for requests for proposals for expanding geothermal production.
There are a thousand reasons why NO CAN. We only need to find the one reason why CAN!