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Acting state consumer advocate officially assumes role

Dean Nishina is officially serving as the state consumer advocate.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said today Nishina, who has been the acting executive director since September, was officially assigned the position at the Division of Consumer Advocacy Jan. 1.

Nishina took on the role after former Consumer Advocate Jeff Ono returned to private practice. Nishina will oversee the division’s protection of ratepayers in cases reviewed by the state Public Utilities Commission as well as other local and federal agencies.

Nishina’s service as Consumer Advocate comes as Hawaii’s electric utility makes the initial steps to achieve the state’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

“I look forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of the state’s consumers in this dynamic period,” said Nishina. “Hawaii’s energy environment has seen significant changes over recent years.”

Nishina perviously served as the consumer advocate from December 2009 to January 2011.

“We are extremely pleased that Dean has agreed to return as the state’s Consumer Advocate,” said Catherine Awakuni Colon, director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in a statement. “He has been with the department for nearly twenty-five years, and has a wealth of experience in the area of public utilities.”

Nishina has worked for the Division of Consumer Advocacy since 1992. Nishina has also worked as an audit and financial consulting senior for Arthur Andersen & Co, LLP. He received his undergraduate degree in economics and psychology from Northwestern University, and his master’s degree in professional accountancy from DePaul University.

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