|This event is co-sponsored by Americans for Democratic Action, Hawaii Chapter, and by Progressive Democrats of Hawai.
Submitted on behalf of Alan Burdick
– Mahalo Alan
A reminder to all that on Sunday, 08 FEB 15, ADA/H will be holding a public forum at 1:30 p.m. in the Mānoa Public Library [with lots of parking] second floor meeting room with Rep Chris Lee on the HECO – NEXTERA merger. It looks like a good forum on a bad deal. The Florida alligators who run NextEra have a reputation that is so bad that even pro-business Forbes Magazine says they’re a bunch of crooks.
If we cannot be 100% sure that the Hawaii PUC will be held to the highest standards of public interest [unlike their totally corrupt Florida counterparts] Hawaii is in for a very rough time. Please come to the forum and, in the meantime, take a look the attached [pdf available] article from today’s Forbes for your reading [dis]pleasure.
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What Is At Stake For Hawaii In NextEra Energy – HECO Merger
NextEra Energy, the holding company based in Juno Beach, FL, wants to buy all three of Hawaii’s electric utilities.
One aspect of the acquisition that has not attracted much attention is the limited applicability of federal energy regulation to utilities in Hawaii.
Except in a few minor instances, utilities in Hawaii are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). By contrast, Florida Power& Light (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, is regulated by the FERC.
The reason for the discrepancy is that the FERC only regulates energy sold in interstate commerce. Hawaii’s power system is isolated.
In the 1970s, FLP sued the FERC to limit the scope of federal energy regulation to sales of electricity that actually crossed state lines. The lawsuit went all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that federal regulators have jurisdiction over any transmission lines that are part of a power grid that crosses state lines.
Hawaii and Alaska are the only two states with power grids that are physically isolated from any other state. (Texas is not technically isolated from other power grids but has limited federal oversight anyway).
This issue is especially important right now because Hawaii is considering construction of an undersea cable that would interconnect the power grids on the islands of Oahu and Maui. Currently, Hawaii has three stand-alone power grids: one grid serves the Big Island, another grid serves Maui and a third grid serves Oahu.
In nearly any other state, the inter-island cable project being considered in Hawaii would be subject to various federal rules and regulations designed to ensure consumers receive the benefits of robust competition.