MECO should be a power distributor, not producer

Dec. 1 and April 13 articles on Maui Electric Co.’s “Revenue Balancing Account” adjustment appear to be fomenting discord between Mauians who have installed solar photovoltaic systems and those who have not. The articles contend that MECO’s RBA adjustment is unfair to those without solar installations and blame those who have installed such systems.

Missing in this discussion is the net metering agreement between MECO and many PV system owners. PV system owners essentially trade power produced by their system for power they receive from MECO (at night and in cloudy conditions); excess PV production is banked as an accruing credit for 12 months. At the end of the 12-month period, this excess power credit resets to zero and the cycle restarts. This means that MECO gets free power that it resells to others at normal prices even though it incurs no production cost.

For example: In December, we had a positive credit with MECO of over $1,300, which represented over 3,000 kilowatt hours. We received no compensation from MECO as it reset to $0 the next month.

Where does MECO account for this windfall (or should we say solarfall)? We are not alone in producing more electricity than we consume. This solarfall could be used to offset the RBA adjustment hike that is the focus of the articles. The problem is not with those of us producing clean power for Maui. Perhaps MECO should reposition itself as a power distribution company rather than a power production company.

Charlie and Linda Chandler