HONOLULU, HI – Today, the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) began mailing coconuts to each State Legislator and the Governor in opposition to Hawaiian Electric’s proposal to impose taxes on new solar customers. Each coconut contains colorful messages like “Sun Taxes Are Nuts!” “This is a lighthearted attempt to show the silliness of HECO’s proposal,” said Robert Harris, Spokesperson for TASC.
Over six months ago, TASC started raising concerns about HECO’s attempts to change the way solar customers can export power to the grid. In the spirit of collaboration, TASC hired leading tax experts to examine HECO’s proposal and write opinions demonstrating the seriousness of the problem. “Under HECO’s proposal, customers could end up footing a significant tax bill — just for trying to do the right thing for the environment,” said Harris.
Rather than engaging in a serious policy discussion or offering proactive solutions for its customers, HECO appears stuck in the first stage of grief: denial. HECO has gone so far as to invest in large print ads to push its denial campaign.
“The problem with HECO’s position is that they offer no proof. Instead, HECO says ‘trust us!,” said Harris. “If HECO is so sure of its unsubstantiated position, it should be willing to put its money where its mouth is and pay customers if they’re wrong. It’s both misguided and unfair for HECO to make its customers face real tax hikes while offering only slick PR campaigns as consolation.”
“Sun taxes are nuts,” said Harris. “That’s the motivation behind our Mail-A-Coconut campaign. But we urge HECO to get serious about a serious issue. If the utility insists on advocating for solar policies that introduce new tax risks, the least it can do is take on that risk itself, rather than force it on its customers.”