The Public Utility Commission's rejection of the NextEra deal was very disappointing to many in the business community. They could see that Hawaiian Electric badly needed an infusion of capital and expertise to modernize the grid and reduce energy costs.
Even though Tom Gorak, the controversial 11th-hour appointee did not vote, the process was politicized. The Governor's early opposition and his late appointment created the appearance of favoritism. That's not good for Hawaii's reputation as a place to do business.
Hawaiian Electric has now lost 18 months in its effort to find the investment partner it will need to build a modern energy system capable of supporting our economy.
Ironically – the commission rejected NextEra because it said the company's promised benefits were vague and unsupported. The same thing can be said for reasons the governor opposed it.
And by the way – it does not make sense that a decision so important to our state could be made by just two people. That makes it much too easy for political pressure to influence the process.
Perhaps along with our electrical system – the PUC needs an overhaul as well.