Maui Business

Nextera Energy Enters $4.3 Billion Deal with Hawaiian Electric Industries

December 4, 2014, 6:09 AM HST
* Updated December 5, 7:11 AM
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MECO workers, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Electric Company workers, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries announced an a deal to combine. The transaction is valued at approximately $4.3 billion and includes the assumption of $1.7 billion in HEI debt.

The deal also calls for a spin off of ASB Hawaiʻi, the parent company of American Savings Bank, to HEI shareholders and establish it as an independent publicly traded company.

Newly sworn in governor David Ige said the state will do its due diligence to ensure that the sale will be in the best interest for Hawaiʻi ratepayers.

Maui County Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod noted that NextEra showed a willingness to meet with the environmental community about a proposed undersea cable between Maui and Oahu, and described the company as one of the largest owners and operators of wind farms on the mainland.

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“Their approach seems to be more progressive than what we have seen from Hawaiian Electric in the past,” said McLeod in a statement.

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Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said he hopes Next Era is willing to take on the challenges that prevented Hawaiian Electric from accepting more renewable power and upgrading its aging infrastructure.

“Some of their generators are from the World War II era. That has to change if we’re ever going to use more renewables. People aren’t just power users anymore, anyone with solar panels is now a power producer and our utility needs to be able to evolve as our community evolves,” said Arakawa in a press release statement.

The public Utilities Commission has plans to review the agreement.

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“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for both our companies as we seek to leverage our respective strengths, commitments to our customers and the communities we serve and the mutual goal of building a cleaner energy future,” said Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy in a joint press release announcement.

“This is a transformational opportunity to unlock the value of two strong, local companies, American Savings Bank and Hawaiian Electric,” said Connie Lau, HEI’s president and chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of American Savings and Hawaiian Electric in a press release statement. “In NextEra Energy, Hawaiian Electric is gaining a trusted partner that can help the company accelerate its plans to achieve the clean energy future we all want for Hawaiʻi,” said Lau.

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