Hearings on NextEra deal to buy HECO wrap up with no timeline for decision

Hearings on NextEra deal to buy HECO wrap up with no timeline for decision
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twenty-one days of hearings and testimony have concluded, and all that's left now is for the state Public Utilities Commission to determine the fate of NextEra Energy's $4.3 billion bid to buy Hawaiian Electric.

PUC officials say final paperwork is due May 2, and the Commission will take its time making its decision.

"Our deadline is that we do this methodically, responsibly," said PUC Chairman Randy Iwase. "We have over 100,000 pages of documents, We have 21 days of transcripts, at about 200-300 pages per day and then we have all the exhibits. It's a lot of work we have to go through."

It's been more than one year since NextEra Energy announced plans to buy Hawaiian Electric. Among other things, opponents of the deal worry whether the Florida-based company will make good on the state's clean energy initiatives.

But NextEra says it's committed to Hawaii's goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

"We really do stand firm in our belief that we are the right partner to partner with Hawaiian Electric to help the state achieve its goals of 100 percent renewable portfolio standard," said Robert Gould, NextEra Energy's chief communications officer.

NextEra and the PUC declined comment on investment reports from earlier this month that predicted NextEra's acquisition could fall apart if the merger wasn't finalized by June 3, 2016.

"The process is quasi-judicial. We sit as if we were a court of law and we have to act accordingly," Iwase said. "We cannot allow outside pressures to affect us. We cannot take into account matters which were not part of the record or not introduced at this hearing, and we're going to continue to do that."

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