In Support of Lower-Cost Electricity for the Big Island (HB106)

Richard Ha writes:

Although we are
testifying in strong support of HB106 HD2, SD1, we would support any bill or combination
of bills that further our efforts to bring lower-cost electricity to the Big
Island in a pono way.

Aloha Chair Gabbard and Vice Chair Ruderman:

The Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) is strongly in
favor of HB106 HD2, SD1

The BICC steering committee members are Dave DeLuz, Jr., President
of Big Island Toyota; John E. K. Dill, Chair of the Ethics Commissions; Rockne
Freitas, former Chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College; Michelle Galimba, Rancher and Board of Agriculture member; Richard Ha,
farmer, Hamakua Springs; Wallace Ishibashi, Royal Order of Kamehameha; Ku‘ulei
Kealoha Cooper, Trustee, Kealoha Estate;  D. Noelani Kalipi, who helped
write the Akaka Bill; Ka‘iu Kimura, Director of Imiloa Astronomy Center; Robert
Lindsey, OHA; H. M. (Monty) Richards, Rancher; Marcia Sakai, Vice Chancellor,
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo; Kumu Lehua Veincent, Principal, Kamehameha High
School, Kea‘au; William Walter, President, Shipman Estate. All speak here in
their private capacity.

Our mission is to drive down the cost of electricity on the
Big Island. The cost of the Big Island’s electricity has been 25 percent higher
than O‘ahu’s for as long as we can remember. Yet the Big Island has the lowest
median family income in the state. Three school complexes in East Hawai‘i lead
the state in free and subsidized school lunches: Pahoa at 89 percent, Ka‘u at
87 percent and Kea‘au at 86 percent.

Education is the best predictor of family income. But
because the Big Island’s electricity rate is 25 percent higher than O‘ahu’s, we
waste more than $250,000 annually in some of our school complexes. 

The cost to generate electricity from geothermal is less
than half that of oil. And because the Big Island will be over the hot spot for
more than 500,000 years, that cost will be relatively stable – unlike the cost
of oil, which will rise in the not-too-distant future.

I asked Carl Bonham, Executive Director of the UH Economic
Research Organization, if it is fair to conclude that if geothermal were the
primary base power for the Big Island, then the Big Island would become more
competitive to the rest of the world as oil prices rise? He said, Yes, we would
become more competitive. I concluded, and he agreed, that our standard of
living would then rise. And that our working homeless could get off the
streets.

We all need to work together to make things work. Get
thousand reasons why no can! We only looking for the one reason why CAN!

Richard Ha

BICC Steering Committee Representative