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Hawaiian Electric Companies Named 2018 Investor-Owned Utilities of the Year

June 12, 2018, 2:00 PM HST (Updated June 12, 2018, 2:00 PM)
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Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light have been named the 2018 SEPA Power Players Investor-Owned Utilities of the Year for their grid modernization efforts by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).

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Now in their 10th year, the SEPA Power Players Awards are chosen by an independent panel of judges with diverse experience in the electric power industry. The awards honor utilities, their industry partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision and momentum for the industry’s transition to a clean energy future.

In addition to the top award to the Hawaiian Electric Companies, Maui Electric was a finalist in the Visionary of the Year category for its continuing engagement with Moloka‘i residents to plan the transition from diesel generation to renewable energy sources, including solar and energy storage.

“To be recognized by the judges in two highly competitive categories affirms the hard work of those who contributed to our grid modernization strategy and our engagement with the Molokai community,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Both awards note how input from customers, community partners and industry experts helped shape the companies’ plans to modernize our island grids, and this level of collaboration is the new norm as we work toward meeting the most ambitious clean energy goals in the nation.”

The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ multi-year grid modernization strategy began with a new planning process that assesses needs at all levels of the system: customers, bulk power resources, transmission and distribution. The process engaged customers and stakeholders from across the state at key points in the integrated resource, transmission, and distribution planning effort.

In February 2018, the Public Utilities Commission approved implementation of the strategy to create renewable-ready island grids and improve reliability. The commission said the strategy “presents a holistic view of how Hawaii’s electric grid can evolve” and commended the companies for “robust and early stakeholder engagement” in developing the plan, which incorporates a wide range of technologies to enable greater private rooftop solar adoption as well as grid-scale renewables.

“This year’s SEPA Power Players represent a diverse set of technologies and initiatives, from low-income community solar, to broad grid modernization efforts, to the digital software needed to optimize our electric power system,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO. “The Hawaiian Electric Companies are but one example of the industry’s spirit of innovation and leadership as we continue to move toward a smart, clean and modern electric grid.”

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