Sunday, February 24, 2008

Musings: Wrong Call

The wind shifted late yesterday afternoon and started blowing hard out of the southwest while I was washing my very grimy car. The rain arrived in the night, and I welcomed it. Already some of the brush on the eastside had started to go brown after this recent spell of dry, sunny weather.

Awoke to cloudy skies, imminent rain and bird song, most notably the intricate melodies of a shama thrush. I was reading the other day that some people keep them precisely for their beautiful music, although I’ve never been fond of seeing birds in cages.

Rats are another story, and while I can’t say I was exactly pleased to see numbah tree in the cage today — despite what I’ve heard, killing doesn’t get easier, at least not for me — it’s one less rodent in my roof. Guess he figured he’d get out of the rain, went to grab a midnight snack on his way to the penthouse suite and oops, wrong call. He's now with his buddies under the camphor tree.

Speaking of trees, noticed in The Garden Island this morning that Ted Erum has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the Eric A. Knudsen Trust and its trustee, shopping center developer Stacey Wong, in an attempt to save the Koloa monkeypod trees. Meanwhile, weekly vigils for the trees continue.

Also noticed my neighbor Andy has added a Stokes 4 KIUC bumper sticker to his truck. I ran into my buddy Ken Stokes at the Laundromat the other day, where he gave an enthusiastic account of his new electric assist bike, which helps him get up the hills. He’s even outfitted it with a little trailer so he can transport his laundry, although he had his car the day I saw him.

Ken, who founded the Kauaian Institute and authors the SusHi sustainability in Hawaii blog is certainly well qualified for the KIUC board and akamai about ways to wean us from imported oil.

The “energy adjustment” charge — which allows KIUC to pass on the rising cost of oil — was actually higher than the kilowatt hour charge — the actual amount of electricity I used — on my last bill. It’s pretty nuts for a single person with a small hot water heater, no washer, dryer or TV and conservative electrical use to pay $140 per month. Especially when a friend staying with a friend near San Francisco reported he was grumbling whenever she left a light on because his monthly electric bill was a whopping $35.

Yes, I know the oil has to be transported over thousands of miles and we don’t have the same economy of scale as big American utilities, but come on! Maybe they could start cutting expenses by eliminating their “Currents” magazine, which costs them tens of thousands of dollars to produce and mail. It's an awful lotta hype for a little utility.

Finally, got a nice email from Jonathan Scheuer of OHA who told me he didn’t think there were any federal agents at the "ceded lands" meeting held on Kauai Wednesday night. Two people in the crowd told me there were, but since I didn’t verify it myself, I shouldn’t have printed it.

Still, it didn’t seem necessary to have state DOCARE officers there. I’m not sure whose call it was, but in my opinion, it was the wrong one, because it set a negative tone of fear and mistrust. And that's not a message you want to send to people who are supposed to be your beneficiaries.


Andy Parx said...

It’s always struck me as insane when for-profit monopoly electric companies advertise but a co-op? Who are they convincing- and what are they convincing them to do? Where are these people watching their TV commercial without electricity.

I’d like to see their “promotional” budget... maybe if Ken and Ben Sullivan join Carol Bain they can make a concerted effort to be as “cheap” as we have all gotten when we go around the house turning off the lights and yelling at the spouse and kids “what am I- made of money?”.

But what’d we expect our bills would look like when we paid triple what KE was worth and got stuck with the whole `Iniki repair bill because KE didn’t carry insurance (which I don’t believe KIUC does either) and the PUC was only concerned with what the huge population in O`ahu would say if they stuck the whole state with the bill.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the preliminary injunction route is that getting one requires a showing of a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case. But here the case is already over and there is a federal court order disposing of the tree issue.

Anonymous said...

Thanx for mentioning the KIUC election, Joan...and thanx to Andy for helping get out the word about my candidacy. As you know, I'm persuaded that nothing is more important than switching to renewable energy, and KIUC is a crucial lever in our island's transition to sustainability.

BTW, I ran into Andy at another great 4th-Saturday meeting of our new nabe association on the Eastside (yeah!). I've agreed to serve on the initial Board, along with 6 others (including good bud Marge Freeman).

And glad you like my story of ebike love. Turns out, this past Saturday, I had to drop Susan at the airport, so, yes, I scheduled that car trip around my laundry times...and the ebike stayed at home. Generally, you'll find me and the ebike at the Kapaa Laundry early every Saturday morning...

I'll also be pedaling to several roadside sign-waving sessions this week, so you can see my marvelous recumbent there, too. Recumbents rule! Ebikes rock! I'm so thrilled to get my aging bones back on the bike...thanx to electric-assist.

Anonymous said...

$140 per mo for one person is pretty high. I found that if I turned off my computer every day while I was away at work, that it would save me $20 per mo. Also, unless heaters are hooked up to solar, they really suck electricity. Even an old frig could suck electricity. Josephine

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