- Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Chair Randall Iwase added a warning for NextEra Energy in rulings on two filings about NextEra's proposed $4.3 billion takeover of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI), telling them not to try to make eleventh-hour deals to win intervenors’ support.
- Iwase’s supplemental opinion to the rulings said revised commitments by NextEra to intervenors in the PUC proceeding were filed eleven days after the deadline and raised the question “of whether the new and revised transaction commitments are in the interest of the public or a single party.”
- NextEra VP Robert Gould’s public statement did not comment on the PUC ruling that the Hawaii Department of Defense (DOD) could not remove itself as an intervenor, but said DOD’s reversal of its opposition to the takeover, after striking a sidelines deal with NextEra, was “appreciated.”
The PUC’s ruling admitted a Nov. 27 filing from NextEra and HEI into evidence for the merger proceeding in Docket 2015-0022. In the filing, dubbed Revised Exhibit 37, the merger parties offered three significant changes to their official commitments to the state. They promised to move more quickly to higher penetrations of renewables, to increase the rate credits available as customer incentives, and to create a holding company to keep in place HEI’s local management and corporate governance.
Entering the revisions “on the eve of the evidentiary hearings violates the spirit and letter of the commission’s orders,” Iwase wrote. It “left the other parties with no reasonable opportunity to review, much less respond to, Revised Exhibit 37…By changing their transaction commitments at the eleventh hour, Applicants have attempted, either explicitly or implicitly, to negate the other parties’ evidentiary hearing preparations.”
Gould’s statement also acknowledged a shift in support from the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, which no longer opposes the merger. In October, 21 of the 26 intervenors in the merger proceeding had filed testimony in the case, with none of them supporting the merger outright.
“We look forward to further explaining the additional benefits for Hawaii customers and communities of our new and improved commitments during the continuation of hearings on Feb. 1,” he wrote to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.