Maui County Selects Guernsey for $70K Utility Study

September 1, 2015, 2:23 PM HST · Updated September 2, 9:23 AM
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MECO workers, file photo by Wendy Osher.

MECO workers, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has announced the selection of an Oklahoma-based firm to study utility options for the community.

The OED posted a request for proposals in May for an analysis in response to the County’s concerns about the proposed NextEra/Hawaiian Electric Industries merger before the Public Utilities Commission.   The $70,000 study is intended to look at alternative forms of ownership and alternative utility business models for Maui County.

County officials said that the contract cost for the study was initially set at $30,000; however the amount was amended to $70,000 as well as the deadline moved up to next month, “in order to provide better information that may assist the county’s position in the NextEra/Maui Electric merger docket.”

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Guernsey, which had an Oʻahu office from 1999 to 2007, is an engineering, architectural and consulting firm which once worked with Hawaiian Electric and the US Army when the military wanted to privatize its electrical systems on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.

County officials say Guernsey’s bid application indicates that the company has “worked with multiple electric utility and cooperative clients across the US to review options for acquisition, consolidation, privatization and/or valuation.”

According to a county announcement, Guernsey will be tasked with coming up with an “options analysis of the alternative forms of ownership and the alternative utility business models for Maui County’s electric utility company.”

Among other things, the study will allow the county to have a better idea about the NextEra proposed merger and whether it is in the best interests of the community, county officials said.

“We have the natural resources to wean ourselves off of oil here in Maui County, but in order to do that we need a utility that will be able to evolve with the changing energy industry,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa in a press release statement.

“Hopefully this study will be able tell us what is the best option for this type of utility evolution. This is important information that we can use to decide what’s best for the future of Maui County.”

The deadline for Guernsey to report back its findings to Maui County is in mid-October.

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