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Interest in Next Wave of Solar Power Rising in Hawaii

Applications for the next generation of private rooftop solar energy systems have surged in recent weeks, showing growing customer interest in the program and this new technology.

solar-panel-in-hawaiiAs of Nov. 1, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company received 234 Customer Self-Supply applications, up from approximately 50 applications in early October.

So far, nearly 100 applications have been approved and are ready for installation, with the rest going through the standard technical review.

“Things are just getting started. Solar power is still a viable option and we expect more customers to install self-supply systems as they learn more about the program,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.

Customer Self-Supply represents the evolution of solar energy systems. These systems enable households to generate their own electricity and to potentially store energy for use after the sun goes down.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies lead the nation in the adoption of solar power. Nearly 79,000 customers have been approved on Oahu, Maui County, and Hawaii island. To date, 15 percent of all residential and commercial electric customers have PV systems – nearly 20 times the national average. Approximately 29 percent of all single family homes have been approved to install a PV system.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Shareholders Approve Merger with NextEra Energy

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (NYSE: HE) (HEI) today announced that HEI shareholders have approved the merger agreement with NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) announced Dec. 3, 2014.

Helco new Logo 2“We’re extremely pleased that our shareholders, many of whom are Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light customers, have shown their strong support for this historic partnership by approving the proposed merger,” said Jeff Watanabe, HEI’s chairman of the board. “The approval marks another significant milestone in our efforts to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation by bringing the expertise and resources of NextEra Energy to our state to achieve even higher levels of renewables and lower energy costs for our customers.”

Of the shares voted, approximately 90 percent were in favor of the merger. Achieving this level of shareholder support is a significant accomplishment because, while publicly held companies commonly may proceed with a merger with the affirmative vote of a majority of their outstanding shares, HEI is required under Hawaii law to obtain supermajority approval from 75 percent of its outstanding shares. Hawaii is the only state with such a high approval requirement for a merger.

The merger will bring together two industry leaders in clean and renewable energy. Hawaiian Electric has put Hawaii on the leading edge of clean energy nationally, successfully integrating rooftop solar with 12 percent of its residential customers and helping meet 21 percent of customer electricity needs from renewable energy resources. NextEra Energy has developed, built and operates one of the nation’s most modern grid networks and is the world’s largest producer of renewable energy from the wind and sun. NextEra Energy supports and will help accelerate Hawaiian Electric’s plans to lower electric bills, triple distributed solar – including rooftop solar – and achieve a 65 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2030. This week Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law that set a goal of 70 percent RPS by 2040 and 100 percent RPS by 2045 for the state—goals which Hawaiian Electric and NextEra Energy have each stated they fully support.

“We’re confident that this merger will help us more quickly achieve the affordable clean energy future we all want for Hawaii,” said Connie Lau, HEI’s president and chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of Hawaiian Electric and American Savings Bank. “We’re proud to support a measure recently passed by the legislature and signed by our governor making Hawaii the first state in the nation to adopt a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio standard. Partnering with NextEra Energy will strengthen and accelerate our ability to reach our state’s ambitious goals.”

The merger with NextEra Energy is expected to provide Hawaiian Electric with the added resources and access to expertise to accelerate Hawaii’s clean energy transformation, while delivering substantial customer benefits, including lower costs. Subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies have committed to approximately $60 million in customer savings over four years and to not request an increase in the general base electricity rate for at least four years post-transaction close. Following completion of the transaction, Hawaiian Electric will continue to operate under its current name, be locally managed, and remain headquartered in Honolulu. HEI is one of Hawaii’s most charitable companies and NextEra Energy will continue HEI’s overall current level of corporate giving in Hawaii.

While the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the proposed merger, the transaction remains subject to other regulatory approvals including approval by the PUC, other customary closing conditions and the spinoff of American Savings Bank, a subsidiary of HEI and one of Hawaii’s largest full-service financial institutions. Following the spinoff, American Savings Bank will remain based in Hawaii as an independent public company, and continue to provide a full range of financial products and services, including business and consumer banking, insurance and investments, corporate banking and commercial real estate lending.

“The spinoff of American Savings Bank as a condition to completing the merger enables shareholders to continue to own American Savings Bank and to participate in the bank’s upside potential as an independent public company,” said Connie Lau. “Our ability to spin off American Savings Bank reflects the strength of the bank’s business, its strong market position and its talented team of employees.”

Hawaii Electric Power Restoration Update

Hawaii Electric Light crews continue to make progress on restoring power to areas impacted by high winds.

Shaka For HELCO

Last night, crews from Hilo, Kona and Waimea restored power to approximately 800 customers in portions of Ainaloa, Hawaiian Beaches, Nanawale, Leilani Estates, Lanipuna, and Hawaiian Acres.

As of 9:00 a.m., an estimated 300 customers remain without power. Today, crews expect to make progress in portions of Nanawale, Leilani Estates, and a few pocket outages in the Puna area. Electric service for customers in these areas is expected to be restored by tomorrow.

Hawaii Electric Light reminds the community to be safe and treat downed power lines as energized and dangerous. Do not handle or move any fallen or damaged utility equipment. If someone is injured by a downed power line, do not approach them. Call 9-1-1 for assistance. To report a downed power line or outage, please call 969-6666.

Hawaii Electric Bills Are at a Four-Year Low

Customers of the Hawaiian Electric Companies are benefiting from lower electric bills due to lower fuel prices. Typical residential bills are at their lowest level in about 4 years.Shaka For HELCO“We are happy to pass these savings straight through to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “At the same time, we’ve seen oil prices drop before, only to rise again. Today’s lower oil prices must not distract us from reducing our dependency on imported oil.

“We remain committed to reaching our goal of getting 65 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” he said.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies also continue working to reduce costs to customers through efficiency improvements and by pursuing cleaner, low-cost natural gas to replace oil while continuing to increase use of renewable energy.

* On Oahu, the residential effective rate is 27.9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A typical 600 kWh bill is $177.45, a decrease of $9.77 since last month, and the lowest since March 2011.

* Hawaii Island’s residential effective rate is 33.8 cents per kWh and a 600 kWh bill is $214.71; that is $12.49 lower than last month, and the lowest since October 2010.

* Maui’s effective rate is 31.5 cents per kWh and a typical 600 kWh bill is $198.78, $21.46 lower than last month and the lowest since February 2011.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Introduce New Logo

The Hawaiian Electric Companies today introduced a new logo that represents the companies’ roots in the islands as well as their commitment to developing a better energy future for Hawaii.

HELCO Logo

“We’re proud of our long history of service to our islands. At the same time, we know we need to continue to change and do better,” said Dick Rosenblum, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “We’re working hard to lower bills for our customers, improve our service, and develop more low-cost clean energy. The logo is a symbol of those commitments.”

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have initiated ambitious projects to deliver on these commitments. Some of the latest actions include:

  • Pursuing, with Public Utilities Commission approval, five new low-cost renewable energy projects on Oahu – including four solar farms and one wind farm – with a combined capacity of 64 megawatts
  • Making it easier, faster, and cheaper for customers to install photovoltaic projects (as of August 2013, there were more than 34,000 installed PV systems across the companies’ service territories with a combined capacity of approximately 250 megawatts)
  • Planning the deactivation of older, less efficient utility generating units on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island for a combined 226 megawatts – about 14 percent of generation owned by the utilities

In the coming weeks, the companies will be announcing more projects to lower bills, improve service and develop more low-cost renewable energy.

“With oil prices driving up electric bills, we know how tough it is for our customers. Through projects like these, we’re working to bring customers some relief,” Rosenblum said. “This won’t happen overnight, but these are steps to help get us there.”

An estimated 18 percent of the electricity currently used by customers on Oahu and Hawaii Island and in Maui County comes from renewable resources, already ahead of the state’s goal of 15 percent by 2015. So far this year, this use of clean energy has saved customers an estimated $243 million by reducing oil use by 1.9 million barrels.

The new logo was developed by respected designer Sig Zane of Hilo and combines traditional Hawaiian design elements with a modern look. Zane worked on the design with his wife, cultural expert Nalani Kanakaole, and their son Kuhao. They drew upon Hawaiian Electric’s 122-year history for their inspiration.

“From the very beginning, when King Kalakaua pioneered electricity at Iolani Palace and chartered Hawaiian Electric, the company has played a key role in Hawaii’s growth. We wanted to create a design that captures that history and reflects the way the company connects our communities,” Zane said.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/o0sgP0KaQiw]

Our New Logo:
A Symbol of Where We’ve Been, Who We Are, and Where We’re Going

AN IMPORTANT MOMENT IN TIME

At Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, we’re proud of our long history of service to our communities. But we know it’s not enough for us just to look back. Looking forward, we know we can and need to do better. At the top of our priority list:

  • Lowering bills for our customers
  • Improving service
  • Developing more low-cost clean energy

As we reaffirm our responsibility to our customers and communities, we’ve introduced a new logo – one that represents our deep roots in these islands as well as our commitment to creating a better energy future for Hawaii.

A REFLECTION OF OUR HERITAGE

The new logo was developed by respected Hilo designer Sig Zane and combines traditional Hawaiian design elements with a modern look. Zane worked on the design with his wife, cultural expert Nalani Kanakaole, and their son Kuhao. They drew upon Hawaiian Electric’s 122-year history for their inspiration.

“From the very beginning, when King Kalakaua pioneered electricity at Iolani Palace and chartered Hawaiian Electric, the company has played a key role in Hawaii’s growth,” Zane said. “We wanted to create a design that captures that history and reflects the way the company connects our communities.”

Learn more about the story behind the logo by watching the video on this page.

The cost of designing and introducing the logo is not included in customers’ electric rates. To save on costs, the logo is being phased in gradually through the normal course of business.

A SYMBOL OF OUR COMMITMENTS

Today we reaffirm our commitment to our customers – to lower bills, improve service and develop more renewable energy. To deliver on our commitments, we’re taking a number of important steps:

  • Pursuing low-cost renewable energy projects to reduce our use of high-priced oil
  • Continuing to help customers to install solar power
  • Planning the deactivation of some of our older power plants
  • Modernizing our systems and electric grids to improve reliability
  • Improving customer service with new technology and added staff

While the logo is an important symbol of our commitments, we know that, in the end, our actions will speak the loudest. So each and every day, we’re working hard to live up to what our logo represents. And we look forward to working with you, our customers and communities to achieve a clean energy future for Hawaii.

In the coming months, customers will begin to see the logo on company websites, signs, vehicles, uniforms, ID badges, and mailings. To save on costs, the logo will be phased in gradually through the normal course of business. For example, existing inventories of materials will be used up before replacement items that carry the new logo are ordered.

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company Have Scheduled Meetings

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have scheduled meetings to seek public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans.

IRP2013

Click to see plans

The Action Plans are part of the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process, which looks at how the utilities will meet future energy needs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies intend to file an Action Plan for each company with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) by June 28, 2013.

Hawaii Island

  • Tuesday, June 4:  6-8 p.m.. Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi St., Hilo
  • Wednesday, June 5: 6-8 p.m. 96-1149 Kamani St., Pahala
  • Thursday, June 6: 6-8 p.m. King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, 75-5660 Palani Rd., Kailua-Kona

Oahu

  • Wednesday, June 12: 6-8 p.m. Farrington High School cafeteria, 1564 N. King St.

Maui County

  • Thursday, June 13: 6-8 p.m. Pomaikai Elementary School, 4650 S. Kamehameha Ave., Kahului
  • Wednesday, June 19: 6-8 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai
  • Thursday, June 20: 5-7 p.m. Hale Kupuna, 1144 Ilima Ave., Lanai City

The Hawaiian Electric Companies will consider all comments in developing plans that will guide the utilities in coming years.

Information about IRP, including the four energy scenarios that guided the planning analysis, is available at www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.

Ongoing technical analysis of the scenarios is available on the site. The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans will be available for public review on the site after presentation to the citizens’ Advisory Group on Thursday, May 30, 2013.

The PUC initiated the latest round of integrated resource planning in March 2012 and named Carl Freedman of Maui-based Haiku Design & Analysis as the commission’s “independent entity” to oversee the process. The PUC also named a 68-member IRP Advisory Group, composed of representatives from diverse locations and organizations in Hawaii, to provide public input to the Hawaiian Electric utilities in the planning process. According to the PUC: “The goal of integrated resource planning is to develop an Action

Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer needs consistent with state energy policies and goals while providing safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost through development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.”

 

Better Place, Sheraton Waikiki and Hawaiian Electric Partner on EV Charge Network in Hawaii

Media Release:

Better Place announced today the start of its initial deployment of EV infrastructure in Hawaii, with the launch of a project to incorporate its electric-vehicle infrastructure in Honolulu, in partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort and Hawaiian Electric Company. The project will start with a small number of charge spots in Waikiki and around Oahu and includes seven electric vehicles. Better Place will manage the charging of the vehicles via a network operations center located in Palo Alto, California.

“Hawaii’s commitment to being a world leader in renewable energy, as demonstrated by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, aligns very strongly with our mission to help end the world’s reliance on oil,” said Jason Wolf, Vice President of Better Place’s North American Operations. “This project marks the beginning of our initial, pre-commercial infrastructure deployment in Hawaii. It supports the state’s goal of leading the nation in renewable energy use, which Better Place will integrate into the grid via electric cars.”

Better Place was among five clean-energy companies awarded funding from the Hawaii Renewable Energy Development Venture (HREDV), a project of the local nonprofit Pacific International Center for High Technology Research that allocates U.S. Department of Energy funds.

“The role of HREDV is to accelerate commercialization of these clean-tech projects so that private investors and customers can follow with increased confidence,” said HREDV project director Maurice Kaya. “The winning companies showed how their technologies could be game-changers in Hawaii and demonstrated strong technical and management expertise to execute the projects and manage federal funds…”

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