Local Connection: NextEra & HECO - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Connection: NextEra & HECO

By: Rick Blangiardi

Now that news has broken of Hawaiian Electric Industries being sold to NextEra, Florida Power and Light's parent company, analysts are starting to examine whether the deal will be good for Hawaii ratepayers.

It's a little too soon to tell what it all means but the good news is that just about anyone could do better than our current situation.

It's not all the Hawaii utility's fault. It is bogged down in another time, when burning oil was the way to make energy and alternatives seems like something futuristic and unattainable.

H-E-I's efforts with solar power has moved far too slow for the surging demand and it had little chance of meeting a state law of making sure 70 percent of supply would come from clean energy by 2030.

NextEra isn't perfect. According to the Miami Herald, (quote) "it has effectively blocked the emergence of competitive distributive energy generation in florida with a dominant, take-no-prisoners approach to regulation and politics."

But it is also a 15-billion-dollar company with lots of resources.

If NextEra is to be believed, it will try to reduce Hawaii's dependence on imported oil, increase renewable energy, get rooftop solar moving more quickly and perhaps, in the process, lower what are the highest energy bills in the nation.

If any of that can be accomplished, and it can be done with aloha, that's a very big deal for Hawaii indeed.

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