HECO on the hot seat at the state legislature

A hearing on Tuesday began with Hawaiian Electric Company’s attorney in the hot seat.

“I would feel a lot more comfortable if your CEO had come to the table today, or come to any of our hearings,” said Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R) Kailua.

HECO customers have expressed frustration, not being allowed to install photovoltaic systems on their homes.

KHON2 asked Rep. Thielen about the need for another oversight committee.

“Because we have people in the Capitol now that are very committed to moving ahead into the renewable energy, less costly future,” Rep. Thielen said.

For its part, HECO says it has tried to be sensitive to consumer needs.

“So we do recognize it’s a changing environment. It’s a very rapidly evolving environment and we need to change with the times and we’re making our best effort to do so,” said Darren Pai, HECO spokesperson.

Rep. Thielen questioned that.

“Hawaiian Electric has acted like Blockbusters where they refuse to change. And go try to find a Blockbuster today, they’re gone,” Rep. Thielen said.

HECO claims it is moving toward giving more homeowners the chance to place photovoltaic systems on their homes. Some legislators say that will be a big leap.

“How do we move beyond this paradigm that’s existed and this business model that’s existed more than a century? And how do we move into the 21st century so that everyone can produce power and save money?” said Rep. Chris Lee (D) Kailua.

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