Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC) is encouraging Big Island residents to attend the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) public listening sessions and offer comment on the proposed merger between NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric.
The two listening sessions on Hawaii Island will begin at 6 p.m.:
- Hilo, Tuesday, September 29 at Hilo High School Cafeteria
- Kona, Wednesday, September 30 at Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
The PUC will not take written testimony at the listening sessions; all comments must be oral.
Members of the HIEC team will be at both the Hilo and Kona locations at 5 p.m. to talk story with the community and pass out complimentary “Own the Power” t-shirts.
“Whatever is decided on the proposed merger will impact future generations,” said Richard Ha, President of HIEC. “The public listening sessions are a chance for the community to tell the PUC that Hawaii Island wants to put all options on the table—including a member-owned, locally-controlled coop.”
HIEC is proposing an alternative electric utility ownership model for Hawaii Island—a cooperative—under which, all member-consumers would own and control its local utility.
HIEC contends that in light of the NextEra-Hawaiian Electric deal pending before the PUC, residents have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to evaluate all utility ownership options.
Benefits of an energy coop for Hawaii Island include potentially lower energy rates over time; financial gains go directly to members, not shareholder profits; greater energy security and independence; and local, democratic control of the island’s energy future.