Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Small savings, possible layoffs from NextEra sale of Hawaiian Electric, net metering could survive Public Utilities ruling, second homeless shelter for Kakaako, Hawaii County Council rejects bigger Ethics Board, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Utility sale pending in Hawaii
The $60 million that NextEra Energy Inc. is promising to save customers if its purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries is approved comes out to only $1 on a monthly bill, the head of the state’s largest utility company acknowledged Tuesday when testifying during trial-like hearings put on by state regulators. Star-Advertiser.

Sometimes a Public Utilities Commission hearing isn’t public at all. That was the case on Tuesday afternoon at Blaisdell Center where, on the second day of a quasi-judicial process that will decide whether NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric is allowed to go through, the public was cleared from the room for 45 minutes while the PUC and other parties directly involved in the hearing met behind closed doors. Civil Beat.

Alan Oshima, the head of Hawaiian Electric Co., which could be purchased by NextEra Energy Inc. for $4.3 billion, could not guarantee that there would be no layoffs after the two-year period following the closure of the acquisition. Pacific Business News.

The Alliance for Solar Choice, a group representing rooftop solar interests in Hawaii and on the mainland, released a poll Tuesday the group said showed most Hawaii residents oppose the sale of Hawaiian Electric Co. to NextEra, especially when told they could lose local control of their utility company. Civil Beat.

The Public Utilities Commission has suspended the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) proposed community based solar tariff and instead opted to open a formal investigative docket. Ililani Media.

More than 25 Hawaii companies and organizations have thrown their support for NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. in recent weeks, the two firms said Monday. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: A recent study by a nonprofit consumer watchdog agency ranked Hawaii as one of three states doing the best job of informing the public about consumer complaints against businesses and licensed professionals. Civil Beat.

More than 18-thousand homes are sold each year in Hawai’i. And now, for the first time, we have data to show us where these buyers are coming from. Hawaii Public Radio.

Timothy Ray Brown, the renowned Berlin patient whose recovery was chronicled in the New England Journal of Medicine, is in Honolulu to help kick off a multimillion-dollar initiative that aims to transform Hawaii into the first HIV-free state in the U.S. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

A second homeless shelter will open in February in Kakaako, where three homeless encampments have been allowed to mushroom as city and state officials wrestle with how to handle Oahu’s persistent homeless population — the largest per capita in the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Construction is underway for a temporary shelter for homeless families near the Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park. Hawaii Public Radio.

Your voices will be heard. That was the message that State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige stressed at the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board meeting on Tuesday, while also trying to reassure people that no sweeps are currently planned for The Harbor homeless community. Civil Beat.

A homeless encampment continues to grow along a bustling avenue heading into Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Trash pickup problems aren’t going away. In fact, they seem to be getting worse. While we’ve had several reports of lingering trash in Kaimuki, Kalihi, and Hawaii Kai, more residents are now having problems. KHON2.

On Wednesday, a second access route to the Mehana Subdivision in Kapolei will officially open. The access route connects the subdivision to and from Kapolei Parkway via Kama’aha Avenue. KITV4.

Hawaii

A bill seeking a larger Board of Ethics with more County Council authority over its members found very little traction Tuesday in the council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Between 2008 and 2015, mainland buyers purchased more homes in Hawaii County than anywhere else in the state, according to a new report. Tribune-Herald.

A bill making it easier for small agricultural tourism enterprises to operate in Hawaii County is a long way from fruition. West Hawaii Today.

An updated map showing the locations where dengue fever has been investigated and confirmed on Hawaii Island has been released by the Hawaii County Civil Defense. The map depicts case locations as of November 30th when the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever totaled 112. Today that number rose to 117. Big Island Video News.

Several weeks after work began on the Big Island’s first roundabout project, a significant change to traffic patterns is beginning. A construction detour located near mile marker 10 on Highway 130 goes into effect today. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Since January 2008, a solid 52 percent of homes sold in Maui County have been to buyers from either the Mainland or foreign nations, states a new report from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). MauiTime.

Visitor arrivals and spending on Maui rose slightly in October, the Hawai'i Tourism Authority reported in preliminary data Monday. Maui News.

More than 2.1 million visitors spent $3.5 billion on Maui from January through October of this year, an increase of 5.3 and 5.9% respectively. Maui Now.

Kauai

A recent ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court is expected to affect fewer than a dozen drunken driving cases on Kauai, according to the prosecuting attorney. Garden Island.