According to this news report, the Hawaii PUC’s decision to reject the merger followed widely heard opposition to the deal in Hawaii.
“Many intervenors worried the merger’s approval would raise electricity rates in the state, already the highest in the nation. Concerns over NextEra’s track record with renewables at its regulated utility Florida Light & Power caused some stakeholders to argue that the merger would not help Hawaii meet its 100%-renewables-by-2045 mandate.”
The Hawaii merger was first proposed in December 2014. Although NextEra promised lower rates after consummation of the merger, a majority of Hawaii residents believed the opposite would be true if the deal went through, according to a February poll by Honolulu Civil Beat. Concerns were also raised on whether the deal would impede Hawaii’s move to 100% renewables by 2045.
When NextEra and Hawaiian Electric formally announced their merger termination, NextEra stated it would pay a $90 million break-up fee and up to $5 million for reimbursement of expenses associated with the transaction.
Some utility insiders contend the PUC left the door open to future merger applications, outlining the conditions upon which the deal could be approved. A statement from the governor’s office also suggested the possibility of a future merger.
Rates and the use of renewable energy will be key considerations for any future merger applications.
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