DCCA NEWS RELEASE: State Consumer Advocate supports the commission denial of the NextEra-HECO merger

Posted on Jul 15, 2016 in Latest News

Affirms Failure to Demonstrate Adequate Customer Benefits

HONOLULU – The Division of Consumer Advocacy (Consumer Advocate) of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, State of Hawaii is still reviewing the Order filed by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today that dismissed, without prejudice, the proposed $4.3 billion NextEra Energy, Inc. – Hawaiian Electric Companies merger, but believes the PUC’s focus on customer benefits as a basis for dismissing the merger and the failure of the Applicants to support their assertions on numerous issues is supported by the record.

The PUC’s decision to dismiss the proposed merger is warranted given the fact that the merger would have provided HEI shareholders and executives with substantial benefits with very little in quantifiable benefits to consumers.  While the Hawaiian Electric Companies and NextEra made many claims about how the proposed transaction would benefit Hawaii, the majority of the purported customer benefits were either temporary or illusory.

“We’re not assuming that this proceeding is over yet,” said Consumer Advocate Jeff Ono.  “Applicants are reviewing the PUC’s order and evaluating whether they are willing to accept the PUC’s decision or will seek a reconsideration of Order No. 33795.  Although we agree with the PUC that the Applicants did not promise adequate customer benefits and provided inadequate support of the merger, we are reviewing the order to determine if any clarification to the order may be necessary.”

Docket information and a copy of the PUC’s order can be found by searching for “2015‑0022” in the “Docket Quick Link” box at http://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/index.jsp. A copy of Order No. 33795 is also available on the Division of Consumer Advocacy’s website at cca.hawaii.gov/dca/.

The Division of Consumer Advocacy is a state agency established to protect and represent the interests of consumers before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and other federal agencies with regulatory jurisdiction over public utility services, including electricity, telecommunications, pipeline gas, private water and wastewater, and interisland water transportation.

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Media Contact:

William Nhieu

Communications Officer

Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Phone:  (808) 586-7582

Mobile:  (808) 389-2788

Email:  Wnhieu@dcca.hawaii.gov