Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative
Organized by: Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative
HIEC was formed after a huge offshore company announced in late 2014 that it intended to buy our local electric utility. Our board decided that as the deal was being evaluated, all options should be put on the table—including, and especially, an energy cooperative for Hawai‘i Island.
To date, HIEC has actively participated in public meetings and hearings hosted by the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission (PUC), offering expert testimony regarding the merits and benefits for the people of a Big Island cooperative.
Right now, HIEC needs your support. Before we can ask large investors for additional funding, we need to raise $50,000 to prove that the community is on-board with a coop for Big Island. The money will be used for planning and public outreach. (Actual purchase of the utility would be made with traditional financing sources.)
Donate today and we’ll send you an “Own the Power” t-shirt and other cool HIEC swag.
Why a coop? Local, democratic control, community-driven strategic priorities and potentially lower electric costs are just a few reasons. Under the coop model, profits would be returned to members or invested back into the coop; no dividends paid to the Mainland or to outside shareholders—the money stays local.
HIEC is connected to a national network of energy coops—more than 900 across the United States. If we are able to negotiate a deal to buy the utility, this affords us access to low cost capital as well as purchasing power for things like renewable energy development, pensions and information technology.
HIEC is not be alone. Our friends on Kaua’i operate the state’s only electric cooperative. We have been working closely with Kaua’i Island Utility Coop (KIUC) to build on its experiences. KIUC recently reached 90% renewable energy penetration and has returned $33 million to its members since 2002. We believe this is due to its cooperative business model—the ability to be nimble and rapidly respond to Hawai‘i’s changing energy landscape.
The decisions we make today on Hawai‘i’s energy future will have long lasting impacts. Help HIEC continue its work of being an active participant in the PUC process as well as keeping the community plugged in via social media, eNewsletters, farmers market pop-ups and coffee hours. The power can be in YOUR hands!