In HECO’s defense
Some of Doc Berry’s statements (“Go Figure” 7/18) need correction. He states “global oil prices have dropped about 22% since mid-2011” and then compares prices of gasoline, Matson shipping rates and electric bills, noting the first two have gone down while electricity here remains very costly.
The low-sulfur fuel oil Hawaiian Electric uses to generate electricity, the fuel oil with higher sulfur content that Matson uses and gasoline are each unique commodities priced and traded in different markets.
Prices for low-sulfur fuel oil shot up in our Asia-Pacific market when Japan began buying large quantities after the shutdown of nuclear plants following last year’s tsunami and earthquake. These prices have remained high ever since, even as oil types subject to other market forces go down.
Bills here remain painfully high because over half the cost of electricity goes just for fuel. Hawaiian Electric takes no mark-up or profit on fuel or energy we buy. Lastly, Doc erroneously states Hawaiian Electric’s recent TV ads were paid for by customers. In fact, the ads were paid out of shareholder funds. They did not affect electric bills in any way.
Peter Rosegg Hawaiian Electric Company Honolulu, HI