The case involves Tesoro’s contract to sell low-sulfur fuel oil to Hawaiian Electric Company. According to this morning’s Star-Advertiser, Tesoro is losing money on that contract and wants the PUC to approve a contract revision. From the newspaper:
What’s In It for Us?
The State Consumer Advocate presumably is protecting consumers’ interests, but we can’t know that for sure because of “competitive reasons.” That’s asking a lot of consumers – to trust everyone working behind closed doors to act in our best interests.
Since most reasonable questions must remain unanswered, we’re left to speculate about the unknown. Here’s one:
The state is attempting to transform itself into a green energy economy by increasing our reliance of renewable resources. Getting off oil is Hawaii priority number one, but as HECO burns less oil to satisfy Oahu’s power requirements, Tesoro will sell less to the utility.
Fewer sales translate to a weaker financial picture in most businesses, so can we expect more contract revisions to charge more for the reduced amount of fuel oil Tesoro unloads on HECO down the road?
The utility passes along fuel costs in the electric bill’s fuel adjustment clause, so any increased fuel oil costs will be paid by consumers – the only ones in this scenario who don’t know what’s going on.
That is indeed a lot to ask of consumers for the sake of Tesoro’s profits – to be happy with higher electric bills while being kept in the dark about one of their biggest monthly expenses.