Chairs Gabbard and Baker, Vice Chairs Ruderman and Taniguchi, committee members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports HB1943 HD2, 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. HD2 calls for transparency on the part of HECO to justify its decisionmaking on individual requests for interconnection to the grid and requires the utility to file quarterly and annual reports with the PUC that are open to the public.
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 taken steps to allow more PV systems to be installed in areas on Oahu already saturated with solar panels if the systems meet certain technical specifications, those steps are only the beginning in the effort to allow any individual or business wanting to pursue cleaner and cheaper energy the options to do so safely and reliably
We urge you to pass this bill and thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony