The long, contentious battle about the HECO-NextEra “merger” has finally ended — for now. Exactly where we go from here is anybody’s guess. Storage remains the great unknown factor as Hawai`i and indeed the rest of the world continues to struggle to “get off” of oil, hopefully in time to save the planet. To learn more about the basics, see our Hawai`i Energy 101 HERE. – Scott Foster, Editor
Jul 18, 2016
NextEra Ends $2.63 Billion Hawaii Deal as Regulator Says No
(Bloomberg) — NextEra Energy Inc. canceled its $2.63 billion bid to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., and may now concentrate on efforts to buy the largest power distributor in Texas. NextEra will pay Hawaiian Electric a $90 million breakup fee and as much as $5 million for expenses related to the failed takeover, the companies said Monday in a joint statement. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission voted 2-0 Friday against the proposed transaction saying the companies failed to show it was in the public interest. More HERE
July 16, 2016
Hawaii commission says no to major electric utility merger
By Cathy Bussewitz
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals. The regulatory body announced Friday that it voted 2-0 to reject the merger. One commissioner, recently appointed by Gov. David Ige, abstained. More HERE
June 3, 2016
Hawaiian Electric: ‘Walk away’ deadline won’t kill NextEra merger deal
By Gavin Bade, Herman Trabish |
The proposed $4.3 billion merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) and NextEra Energy can continue moving forward after June 3 without any action by the two utilities if Hawaii regulators do not reach a decision on the deal, HEI officials told Honolulu Civil Beat. More HERE.
March 23, 2016
All may seem to be quiet, but the PR battle to win over public opinion to support Florida-based NextEra Energy’s proposed acquisition of HECO is still being waged by the two energy companies. Despite the seemingly unlimited PR staffs and money, their combined efforts have failed to move the needle in their favor — with the latest credible poll indicating 52% of the public remain against it. We hapless consumers will probably never know the actual public relations and legal costs but we do wonder who will be paying for that; the corporate stockholders or we consumers?
We found the following article to be an excellent external perspective of the current situation. – ED
March 23, 2016
Getting to 100% renewables: How Hawaii plans to get fossil fuels off the grid
In Hawaii, getting stakeholder consensus around a 100% renewable energy mandate was the easy part. The hard part comes next.
It’s truly a case of the last being first. Hawaii is the youngest state in the nation — added nearly 60 years ago in 1959. But that latest addition to the U.S. is also the first state to do something nearly as significant as stitching another star on the American flag — committing to end the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation. More HERE
THE HECO-NEXTERA QUANDARY
“One of the more important things the interested consumer would want to understand about the generation and distribution of electricity in our islands is the fact that Hawai`i is a series of “stranded markets.” Simply put, our various islands have no access to neighboring electric grids when major outages occur. Without a neighboring grid, when an extraordinary mechanical failure or catastrophic weather event occurs in Hawai`i, sometimes the power goes off.” Read the latest installment of our Hawai`i Energy 101 HERE.
For an excellent “as it happened ” perspective of the proposed NextEra-HECO aquisition, see the CivilBeat News Archive HERE
THE HECO-NEXTERA QUANDARY
The December 3rd, 2014, announcement that Florida-based NextEra Energy had made an offer to purchase the venerable Hawai`i Electric Company (HECO) for $4.3 billion took most Hawaii consumers by complete surprise.
Since this announcement, a tsunami of data and information has been generated and sides have been taken in what’s become a highly polarized debate. Several of Hawaii’s best known environmentalists and conservation organizations are adamantly opposing the merger and for a variety of reasons; some valid and some debatable. How ugly has it become? Very. Here’s how it started out:
Utility Merger or Election Campaign?
Debate Over NextEra Deal Blurs the Line
The proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric has featured everything from attack ads to high-powered consultants.
Read it HERE.
From the beginning, Governor David Ige has opposed the NextEra deal and as late as February 4, 2016, he was quoted as saying: “I still feel that is not a good fit” … “It is about finding a company or a partner that really is committed to a new business model for a utility. One that is focused on 100 percent renewables, rather than having a large traditional utility acquire Hawaiian Electric Co.” As might be expected, the State Ombudsman and numerous other elected and appointed state officials are against the sale.
The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and it’s three appointed commissioners will have the “final say” on the HECO sale and their decision isn’t expected until at least June of 2016, possibly later. The third round of the PUC hearings on the proposed NextEra-HECO acquisition concluded on March 1, 2016.
Mar 1, 2016
By Duane Shimogawa
The regulatory hearings on NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion concluded Tuesday after three rounds of hearings over more than 20 days. Briefings by both the intervenors and the two merging companies are due by March 31. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has not set a date on when it will render its decision on the sale. Randy Iwase, chairman of the PUC, has said that it could make a decision by June 3 or later. MORE
For a concise background on the current “trial like” PUC hearings, read this enlightening out-of-state article from July, 2015, about earlier events which set the stage for the current hearings:
Inside Hawaii’s landmark regulatory proceeding to value distributed resources
Phase 1 of the tumultuous docket has brought only ‘general disagreement’ among stakeholders
Read it HERE.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
To date, the average Hawai`i consumer has been overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and complexity of the information (and mis-information) being spun at us from every direction, both for and against the possible sale of HECO. Although AFCR has followed Hawaii’s many challenging energy issues — including solar and other possible renewables — for over two decades, we have not yet taken a position on the HECO. As it stands, there are simply too many unknowns and too much ideologically-driven information in circulation for us to make an informed decision on the HECO sale to the NextEra Energy Corporation. Apart from the HECO and Nextera hui, anyone who already has made a final decision is either not paying attention or is harboring their own agenda. A lot of money is involved and there will be big winners and big losers in the end.
AFCR is in the fortunate position of having long-time relationships with several of the nation’s more brilliant minds in the quickly evolving field of energy and we routinely consult with them to help us better comprehend the Rubix Cube of energy challenges facing Hawai`i.
As AFCR has done for over 20 years, we will continue to do everything in our power to demystify and present accurate and useful information to you, the informed consumer and voter with the hope of assisting you in making your own informed decisions.
Much is at risk and there are many political and economic agendas at play. You can again make the difference and it’s vital that your voice be heard during the long debate over what may be the single most important public policy decision in State history — the NextEra-HECO sale.