Crony capitalism is at work with undersea cable

The proposed undersea cable is an example of crony capitalism at its finest. The fact that the Public Utilities Commission will allow Hawaiian Electric Co. to raise our rates to pay for the project, estimated at more than $5 billion, does not get much press yet – but it should.

Is that free-market capitalism? And these projects never run over budget, right? Just the fluctuating price of copper can send the cost through the roof.

Clearly HECO, its shareholders and the contractors installing the cable benefit, ratepayers get the bill.

To me, the larger question that begs an answer is whether or not Oahu should plug into us at all. I understand Honolulu has hundreds of acres of empty rooftops available to put solar panels on, and doing that is cheaper and easier to maintain than an undersea cable.

What’s next after a power line? A water pipeline to Mt. Waialeale on Kauai, another one to Waikamoi or maybe Halawa Valley on Molokai, so that the high rises in Honolulu can keep expanding and flushing our resources down their toilets?

Oahu needs to learn to live within its means. It has already used up huge amounts of Maui Nui sand and other resources. Alternative energy generation for Maui is great; for Oahu from Maui, not so great.

The cost of making the cable work is unknown. Once the project starts, say hello to forever-escalating electric bills.

Please oppose this clear example of crony capitalism. No to the cable.

Simon Russell