Hawaii groups push co-op utility after failed merger

Hawaii groups push co-op utility after failed merger

The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - People in Hawaii are talking about what's next for the state's largest utility now that a merger between NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric failed.

Some are pushing for a different type of utility, like a community-owned cooperative or utilities run by the counties.

They say that could help the state use more renewable energy and lower costs for customers, who pay the highest rates in the nation.

There are more than 900 non-profit energy cooperatives in the United States, mostly in rural, isolated areas. But co-op utilities are less common in cities.

The island of Kauai started a cooperatively-owned utility in 2002 when it bought the local utility for $215 million.

Hawaii recently approved spending $1.2 million to study what type of utility would save money and help state reach its aggressive renewable energy goals.

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