Federal regulators approve NextEra-HECO merger
- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries, the parent company of the investor-owned utility Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), to Florida-based NextEra Energy, Honolulu Civil Beat reports.
- American Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric, will be spun off into an independent company as a part of the deal. The $4.3 billion acquisition must still be approved by shareholders of Hawaiian Electric and the state Public Utilities Commission.
- The two companies on Monday urged the Hawaii PUC to not extend the deadline for merger approval, currently set for the end of August 2015. Interveners on the PUC merger docket have asked regulators to push back the consideration deadline to October.
FERC's approval leaves the merger with only two more major hurdles. HECO shareholders will vote on the merger on May 12, Pacific Business News reports, and state utility regulators had been expected to vote on the deal by the end of August.
But now, interveners on the deal are asking regulators to push back that August date, arguing that more time is needed for an adequate analysis of the deal. The Hawaii Consumer Advocate and the other interveners want to consider the acquisition until October 30, which could delay potential finalization of the deal until April 15 of next year.
Hawaii legislators are currently considering a package of bills to ensure the merger is in the public interest. The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), which oversees the Hawaii Energy Office, asked to be added to the list of interveners last week.
Some lawmakers feel the nonprofit Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC) should be allowed to intervene in the PUC proceeding as well, in order to question whether public ownership of the state’s utility might be a better option. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is seen as an alternative model to NextEra ownership.
- Honolulu Civil Beat Feds Give OK to NextEra Purchase of Hawaiian Electric
- Pacific Business Journal Hawaiian Electric-NextEra Energy say 'no' to sale deadline extension
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