East Hawaii News

Governor Ige: State Opposes Hawaiian Electric/NextEra Merger

July 21, 2015, 4:02 PM HST
* Updated September 1, 9:12 AM
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Governor David Ige said Tuesday during an afternoon news conference that the state opposes the proposed merger Hawaiian Electric Company and NextEra Energy.

“I wanted to emphasize that the state of Hawai’i wants to invite capital investment into our state. We do understand why it’s important,” Governor Ige said during the conference. “As you know, the state has made a commitment to the future for electricity generation that is 100 percent renewable, and no other state in the country has taken that position.

“From my perspective, the challenge and opportunity that the utilities in Hawai’i have is not matched anywhere else in the country. The state is taking the position of opposing the merger as proposed.”

One of the major reasons that the state has decided to stand in opposition of the deal is that it is unsure if NextEra will fulfill the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

“We had committed to a 360 degree review of the proposed merger and all of the consultants and state personnel had independently reviewed the documents and testimonies submitted, and they all independently came to the same conclusion that it is in the state’s best interest to oppose the merger as proposed,” Governor Ige stated.

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“We need an electric company that sees Hawai‘i as the center of its work and the opportunity we represent as one of the greatest moments in history for any utility. We have not seen that in this proposal,” Ige added.

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Currently, the merger has been approved by Hawaiian Electric’s shareholders but is awaiting state Public Utilities Commission approval.

Hawaiian Electric President and CEO Alan Oshima released a statement following Governor Ige’s news conference. “We recognize that this proposed merger is a very important matter for our customers, our communities and the state at large. The PUC review is an ongoing process that provides an opportunity to address and answer questions or concerns.  As more information is provided throughout this process, we feel strongly that others will also conclude that this partnership with NextEra Energy will result in significant benefits for our customers and for Hawai‘i’s leadership in clean energy.”

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