Richard Ha writes:
Did you see yesterday’s Hawaii Tribune-Herald?
The University of Hawaii at Hilo is facing a $5.5 million utility bill, which is an increase of almost $500,000 in just one year – almost completely due to the rise of electricity costs. This shortfall is going to have to come straight out of the university budget.
By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
…In fiscal year 2011-12, UHH budgeted $5.1 million for its utility costs, with the bulk of that figure being represented by power, said Marcia Sakai, Hilo’s vice chancellor for administrative affairs.
By spring 2012, the rate of monthly spending had increased such that the school was anticipating a shortfall of approximately $450,000, with anticipated total spending closer to $5.5 million.
…As a result of such jumps in electricity bills, Straney has appointed Sakai as the campus’ sustainability director and charged her with finding ways to cut utility costs and developing an energy management plan, making the university more efficient. He was very up front about his reasons for doing so.
“We’re not being green here. We’re not doing the right thing. This is pure economic necessity,” Straney said. “We’re just doing it to keep the lights on.”
This is exactly what is also happening to families, farmers/ranchers, businesses and everyone else who has a utility bill.
This is why we have decided to form a coalition. The Big Island Community Coalition’s objective: To work in collaboration for the greater good of Hawai‘i Island and its people.
Our first goal: To make Big Island electricity rates lower than O‘ahu’s rates, which have been 25 percent lower than on the Big Island.
We want to:
- protect Big Island families from rising electricity rates
- help Big Island businesses become more competitive in the Oahu market and world wide
- make the Big Island more food secure
- become more competitive to the rest of the world as oil prices rise
- raise our standard of living relative to the rest of the world
- stop exporting our most precious resource, by having jobs so our children can raise their families on the Big Island