Hold MECO accountable for its poor performance

The Public Utilities Commission’s partial denial of the Maui Electric Co. proposed rate increase (The Maui News, June 15) was timely. MECO enjoys a monopoly, which comes with certain duties and benefits.

For too long, MECO has not been accountable to its customers to provide excellent service at reasonable costs. The PUC is telling MECO to not expect to be rewarded for mediocre service and continually increasing electrical rates, based on inefficient operations.

Ask anyone who has had to deal with MECO and almost all will have the same complaint: MECO falls way short of being a consumer-friendly business. MECO’s customers are aggressively searching for ways to reduce electric bills, decrease the island’s dependence on fossil fuels and are embracing increasing options for alternate energy production.

The PUC is challenging MECO to do a better job of implementing cost savings using technology and improving customer service. MECO needs to embrace alternative energy solutions and be part of the process to utilize more green energy, instead of putting up roadblocks. It also needs to look at all of its operations and see where efficiencies and technology can benefit consumers with lower electrical rates.

MECO should not be challenging the PUC’s determination but rather thank it for its timely input and go to work making the changes that will reduce costs, encourage the use of alternate energy, increase efficiency and improve customer relations and service. With these improvements, Maui ratepayers will be happy to support a reasonable rate increase in the future.

Jamie Woodburn