Residents gather to oppose HECO NextEra merger - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Residents gather to oppose HECO NextEra merger

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hundreds crowded into McKinley High School's auditorium Tuesday to voice their opposition to Hawaiian Electric's NextEra merger. 

Most attendees were opposed to the $4.5 billion dollar deal, saying it will lead to higher electricity bills and loss of local control. Opponents also said NextEra is not committed to Hawaii's goal of becoming energy independent by the year 2045. 

"I think the majority of people have expressed concern about losing local control over our electricity production and I don't think NextEra has support for solar energy, especially rooftop solar energy," explained Marti Townsend of Sierra Club Hawaii. 

But the Florida-based company says support for the deal is growing. 

"As they hear about the benefits that we're talking about, upwards of a billion dollars in benefits, $400 on average per customer savings," said NextEra Spokesman Rob Gould. "That's real money that stays in customers pockets."

The Public Utilities Commission will begin hearings on the deal starting next month. 

A final decision on the merger is expected to be made in Spring 2016. 

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