Shifting of MECO subsidies needs to be reduced

The article in the Dec. 1 paper has triggered quite a few conversations about fairness and solar power. Mahalo for putting a spotlight on this important issue.

To be clear to readers, the county recognizes that paying for solar photovoltaic systems is a financial sacrifice made in the interest of reducing oil use, and that many people with PV systems are not rich.

Our point is that we have only 5 percent of Maui Electric Co.’s customers with PV today, but we are already seeing friction due to the way the current system shifts costs to those without PV. What happens when a third or a half of MECO’s customers have PV?

To make the system expandable we need to reduce the subsidy from one type of MECO customer to another.

This could be done in a way that only affects new systems or all systems. We are not sure how the line should be drawn.

Doug McLeod

Energy Commissioner

County of Maui