Hawaii gov says USD-4.3bn NextEra-HEI deal is “unacceptable”
One of Hawaii's existing solar power plants. Author: Official US Navy Page. License: Creative Commons: Attribution 2.0 Generic
The governor of Hawaii, David Ige, believes that the planned USD-4.3-billion (EUR 3.9bn) acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE:HE), or HEI, by NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) is unacceptable at this point.
According to the governor, NextEra has responded vaguely to questions about its plan on how to achieve the state’s objective to source 100% of its energy from renewables by 2045. Concern has also been raised in connection with the loss of local control over the state's utilities, Ige told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. That is why the governor has asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to ban the proposed merger.
Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric Co’s president and CEO, responded to this in a press release, expressing confidence with the deal. “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 Hawaii's leadership in clean energy," he said.
As announced in early December 2014, NextEra Energy struck a deal to acquire Hawaiian Electric Industries, including its units Hawaiian Electric Co Inc, Hawaii Electric Light Co Inc and Maui Electric Co Ltd. The group is the regulated electric utility for 95% of Hawaii’s population and its goal is to source 65% of its total power from renewables by 2030.
The transaction was cleared by HEI’s stockholders in June, but is still pending the green light from certain regulators, including the PUC.