- The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), which oversees the Hawaii Energy Office, is raising questions about the adequacy of the information NextEra Energy has submitted to state regulators about its proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), the state’s dominant electricity provider.
- DBEDT wants the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to add it to the 28 approved stakeholders approved to intervene in upcoming hearings on the proposal. The agency says neither NextEra nor HECO have provided sufficient information in their merger application to support their service claims and goals.
- DBEDT said it has not yet drawn a conclusion about the merits of the proposed deal, Pacific Business News reports, but wants to ensure the deal is in the public interest.
Hawaii Gas, the state’s only gas utility, also wants to intervene to raise questions about its post-merger role.
Hawaii’s House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection unanimously approved four bills concerning NextEra's purchase of HECO for further consideration by the full house this week. The lawmakers’ intention is to let commissioners know there is significant public concern.
HR 158 and HR 159 ask the PUC to consider the long term best interests of the public and of ratepayers in its deliberations. HCR 9 asks the PUC to make its deliberations on the sale public. HR 105 raises the possibility of retaining ownership of the utility and its generation portfolio locally.
Many lawmakers supported participation of the proposed non-profit Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC) in the PUC proceeding and believe a publicly owned utility, like the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, would be a better alternative than ownership by NextEra.
“This is definitely good news as far as the Hawaii PUC welcoming a diversity of input,” HIEC co-founder Marco Mangelsdorf told Utility Dive when the PUC approved HIEC participation as an intervener.