Some news has recently come down the pipeline regarding Maui energy, and the outcome will have a big impact on the future, whichever way it goes. That's why residents, home owners and those in the market for Maui real estate have been checking in on the developments as they unfold. After all, utility bills are an important factor in the cost of living when you're deciding whether to buy a Maui home.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa has recently announced that he wants the county to seriously consider turning Maui Electric Co. (MECO) into a public utility. The logic behind it is this: we can't know for sure if NextEra will handle our energy concerns as well as we could. Which is the safer bet for residents and businesses who will be the ones paying utility bills?
Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. is in the process of acquiring Hawaiian Electric Industries, which is Maui Electric's parent company. Arakawa pointed out that because NextEra isn't based on Maui, its profits would funnel out of the island. This will be the case even if they do manage to make our utility bills cheaper.
According to Arakawa, the county is likely to hire a consultant who will explore the alternate possibilities for MECO's future, which could go one of two ways. MECO could be bought out by the county and turned into a co-op as Kauai has done, or it could be turned into a utility that would compete with NextEra as a business.
As for NextEra's response to these possible changes, their Vice President and Chief of Communications Officer, Robert Gould, has declined to comment, ironically. NextEra's acquisition of Hawaiian Electric still needs approval from regulators, but they've cleared every hurdle in their path so far.
This topic is certainly going to come up in the news a lot in the future, and will probably come up again in this blog as events unfold, so be sure to check in. Mahalo for reading this week!
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