Molokai, Island of Hard Knocks– Gets Shocked by Electric Bills; Issue Goes With Other Challenges like Water, Opioids, Food Supply, & Sale of Molokai Ranch

HAWAII

SITUATION:
There is a shortage of Electricity on Molokai & it is unaffordable,
Are large electricity deserts throughout Molokai on Hawaiian homestead land
Utility poles do not reach some Hawaiian homestead lands on the Island.
Hawaiian Electric Co .uses its monopoly status to gain max fee revenue,.
Seeks to gain utility profits from vulnerable community members.
Molokai residents use 35% less electricity than the state average,
But pay nearly 7 cents more per kilowatt-hour compared to Oahu residents.

SIGNIFICANCE:
Residents on island are forced to pay for the installation of their own poles,
Cost to community members said can run from $10,000 to $40,000.
Life on Molokai is not for everyone, but that it’s his choice to live there.
People want to embrace the new co-op and make life the best it can be.
As the co-op waits for the final RFP from HECO, Yamashita said he’s already reaching out to people in communities off the grid

SOLUTIONS:
The first step to decrease reliance on the utility
Enable residents live without a connection to the grid
To conserving electricity throughout the day
Use generators or propane to power essential appliances at night.
Coop wants to build the next 2.5 MW solar project on Molokai
Enough to power about 20% of the community’s electric needs.
Hopes to become the first community-owned energy co-op on the island.
Molokai is ready to create a new reputation– not the “island of hard knocks”
Rather it’s a community that knows how to successfully steward the environment in a way that supports the economy while preserving the culture.

STATS:
Hawaiian Electric services 3,200 residential customers on the island
4,000 non-customers living in a home being serviced by another source
Many living without any connection.
National average cost of residential electricity is $0.13 per kWh
Hawaii has the highest prices in the nation, nearly triple that at $0.33.
Molokai has 7,300 residents — 62% of which are Native Hawaiian
Hawaiian Electric services 3,200 residential customers on the island

SEZ:
“The inequity of Molokai people paying like four times more than the national average … it’s an injustice,” – . Maui County Council Vice Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez

SOURCES:
Molokai Has An Electricity Problem. This Co-Op Wants To Change That -https://www.civilbeat.org/?p=1459160&utm_source=Civil+Beat+Master+List&utm_campaign=4ab171f6d6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_09_21_11_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51c2dd3cf3-4ab171f6d6-401929137&mc_cid=4ab171f6d6&mc_eid=b6edb31b98

Lauren Teruya who wrote the article above and source of posting content is a Poynter-Koch reporting fellow for Honolulu Civil Beat. Graduate of Iolani School ;Holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. You can reach her at lteruya@civilbeat.org.

 

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