season’s exhortations! on Ben’s last Board meeting

kWh sold

I don’t often attend public meetings of our island’s various Boards and Commissions...on the theory that our sitting reps know what they’re doing and don’t want to hear from me, anyway.

Today was an exception as I presented an exhortation to the KIUC Board, meeting for the last time with Ben Sullivan at the table. (He’s resigning to become the County’s Energy Coordinator.)

I couldn’t help myself. ”Raise the bar,” said I; "push harder, ask tougher questions, engage even more!”

Here’s the full statement:

Aloha Board!
Let’s see...last time I was here it was Ben Sullivan’s first meeting...and I want to just take a moment to honor his work here. You will be missed, Sir!

I spoke then, three years ago, about “flawed forecasts”, and I subsequently blogged about your consultants "cooking the numbers". You’ll recall the question was whether the startling drop-off in electricity demand in late ’08 would bounce back. Now, three years later, it hasn’t bounced back, and it’s still trending down.

Incidentally, you can get my latest quarterly forecast of electricity demand (plus 11 other indicators) on the County’s OED website.

The good news is, as I shared with Director Jan TenBruggencate and my Facebook friends, these trends reflect a historic downturn in average household energy use, and, for all the right reasons, we hope this trend continues. I will note that CEO David Bissell had the right answer when I asked him at a recent LBA appearance whether declining electricity demand was a good thing or a bad thing.

So, today, you take up the budget for next year: You have run all the numbers, done your ratio analysis, poked into every corner for possible cost savings, and laid-out your capital investments for 2012.

Hopefully, all of these decisions are driven by your strategic plan for the transition to sustainability. You have thought through all the systems dynamics and interconnections, identified your most promising targets, accounted for the related, prospective moves by your stakeholders, partners and challengers, and crafted a coordinated set of management initiatives to implement these strategies.

You did all these things because it is part of the due diligence we expect from our Directors, right? Be that as it may, I’m here today to urge you: Raise the bar, press harder, ask tougher questions, engage even more!

I can only echo the leading thinkers of our time when I say that the sustainability challenges we face are so daunting, it must be seen that business-as-usual is the enemy; inaction is the greatest threat.

Now, in the early stages of this transition, it’s been OK to just stay open and be opportunistic. Yet, now that we see more clearly both the challenges headed our way and the resources at hand, we must get much more strategic...and strategic is the opposite of opportunistic. We must sharpen our focus, forge a common sense of mission, engage our collaborative institutions, and uncork our creativity.

I have no doubt that we can do this. In fact, I can envision an era of abundant and cheap energy for our island. I hope and pray we make the transition in time.

BTW, as you know, I’m a close observer of KIUC. I read all the minutes and agendas, financials, and consultant reports. And, I came to your smart grid and hydro community meetings.

Of course, I have no idea what you may or may not have done with my own well-considered contributions to these meetings. Nevertheless, I welcome these newly expanding outreach efforts.

We have so far to go. Imua!

Respectfully submitted, 20 Dec 11
Ken Stokes, member

Published by Ken on December 20th, 2011 tagged Island Ecosystems


One Response to “season’s exhortations! on Ben’s last Board meeting”

  1. Ben Sullivan Says:

    Thanks Ken for taking it upon yourself to pay attention to what is happening at our community coop. You have my support in the upcoming election. I know you'll be a great addition to the coop board...I look forward to attending your first COOP Board meeting. Aloha!

    Ben