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NextEra reconfirms commitment to HEI deal despite opposition

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    Eric Gleason

NextEra Energy Inc. said today it is still committed to buying Hawaiian Electric Industries despite Gov. David Ige’s administration coming out against its purchase of HEI for the second time. 

"We remain committed to this merger and the benefits it will bring to customers, communities and the state of Hawaii," NextEra spokesman Rob Gould said. 

On Wednesday, the state Office of Planning; the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism; and the state Consumer Advocate said they are still opposed to NextEra Energy Inc.’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries even after NextEra added more than 50 new binding commitments to its proposal in August. The three state agencies filed more than 480 pages Wednesday with the Public Utilities Commission, saying that even with Next­Era’s added commitments, the sale is not in the public interest. 

"We appreciate input from all stakeholders and recognize that this is an ongoing, dynamic process," Gould said. "We remain committed to continuing to work to address any and all concerns and continue to believe that NextEra Energy is the right partner for Hawaiian Electric to achieve Hawaii’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. As the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from wind and sun, NextEra Energy will apply its extensive renewable energy expertise and resources to make this goal a reality, while lowering customers’ energy bills." 

NextEra said in December it planned to buy HEI for $4.3 billion. The purchase has been approved by HEI and NextEra shareholders and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

In August, NextEra added more than 50 new commitments, including customer savings of nearly $465 million and approximately $500 million in economic benefits over the first five years following the close of the merger. Residential customer savings are estimated to be $372 for Oahu customers over five years. The company also said it would help Hawaii get 100 percent of its utility electrical generation from renewable resources by 2045, "if not sooner." 

The added commitments were aired after Ige said on July 20 he opposed NextEra’s purchase of Hawaii’s largest electric utility and was recommending that the PUC reject the deal. 

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