Companies have no choice but to sue Big Isle utility

In your July 29 article about Helco's unpermitted construction activities at Keahole, Warren Lee implies that Hilo Coast Power Co. (HCPC) wants to sell additional power to Helco at excessively high costs. This is untrue.

The Hawaii law governing purchased power contracts specifies that independent power producers are entitled to receive Helco's avoided costs -- no more and no less.

HCPC has been trying for over two years to negotiate a new power contract with Helco with increased power deliveries (32 megawatts instead of the present 22 megawatts) at a substantially lower price than its current contract. Helco's unwillingness to negotiate in a timely fashion has forced HCPC to seek relief from the Public Utilities Commission, the same as Encogen and Kawaihae Partners.

Our docket is now waiting for a decision from the PUC. Of all the proposed power plants (including Keahole), HCPC is the only one already in existence. We have a proven track record, producing reliable power from a source other than petroleum fuels.

Richard Hill
President, Hilo Coast Power Co.
Hilo, Hawaii