Hawai‘i’s energy crisis and HECO’s misinformation Hawai‘i’s energy crisis and HECO’s misinformation

Economy / All right, get out your calculator, a pencil, and paper, and see what the price of oil is doing to your finances. Ask just who is treating you as if they gave a damn about keeping you as a happy customer .

The math:

1. Global oil prices have dropped about 22% since mid 2011, from highs of $104 to $107a barrel( bbl) to around $80 to $83 bbl since June 2012. Higher priced premium Brent Crude oil has dropped by about the same percentage.

2. Matson accordingly has dropped their added fuel charges 17.8% since mid 2011.

3. Regular gasoline prices in Honolulu, however, running around $4.47 a gallon from 2011 through spring of 2012, have dropped only 7% in the last 6 weeks to $4.14/gal..

If our refiners and gas stations were willing to pass along a 22% drop in crude oil, gas would have dropped by 64 cents a gallon, from $4.47 to $3,83.

With crude oil down, why has the price of Honolulu gasoline remained so high?

4. According to the U.S. Consumer Price Index, HECO, which uses oil for 76.3% of its fuel, has raised Honolulu electricity prices 34.3% since early 2011, and just added a 3.4% increase as of July, 2012. Honolulu’s residential electricity consumers pay three times the national average rate.

So with oil prices down 22%, HECO explains this rise in electricity prices with TV ads telling us rates are higher because fuel costs are up. Apparently for HECO, down is up. More, don’t forget to register that you’re also paying for those HECO TV ads.

Four years into the Hawaii Clean Energy initiative, are solar and wind competing, making significant inroads on HECO’s sales of their own energy production? According to HECO’s Consumer Line in my last electric bill, solar presently supplies only .003% and wind only .643% of total energy for Honolulu, i.e., so far less than 1%.

More green energy is on the way, but at what price unless you own it or lease it?

So what are your options?

*Get a high mileage hybrid car. Car pool. Or sell your wheels and ride a bike or the bus

*Do an energy audit of your house and business and cut electricity consumption.

*Invest in solar on your home or business.

. *Ask legislators to come up with Green Energy sales on the grid, as they do in Marin County north of San Francisco.

*Buy HECO stock and complain at the stockholders meeting.

In every problem there are opportunities. Go figure.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your gasoline dollar, give or take few cents, breaks down as follows:

Taxes 13 cents

Distribution & marketing 8 cents

Refining 14 cents

Crude oil 65 cents