Chair Lee, Vice Chair Thielen, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports SB2656 SD2, which would require the public utilities commission to adopt rules for improved accessibility to connect to the Hawaii electric system for any person, business, or entity on the Hawaii electric system. It would also require the commission to initiate a proceeding no later than July 1, 2014, to discuss upgrades to the Hawaii electric system for anticipated growth of customer generation.
The League has long supported actions to promote energy conservation and research into alternate energy resources available in Hawaii, taking into consideration environmental effect, economic feasibility, and differing conditions on each island. Given the overwhelming testimony in support of this bill and the increasing impatience of the public with the pace of progress, we feel the Legislature needs to give the PUC much firmer guidance and make clear that the commission must move as fast as possible to resolve the technical issues holding up installations for those who are eager to enjoy lower electrical rates through the implementation of solar. Creating a smart grid is a big project, but progress needs to begin now.
While Hawaiian Electric Co. has issued revised guidelines to allow more PV systems to be installed in areas on Oahu already saturated with solar panels if the systems meet certain technical specifications, more needs to be done so that any individual or business wanting to pursue cleaner and cheaper energy options can do so safely and reliably.
We urge you to pass this bill and thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony