Monday, July 18, 2016

NextEra Energy quits $4.3B Hawaii electric plan after PUC rebuff, Djou ahead of Caldwell in Honolulu mayoral poll but Caldwell leads in fundraising, Maui audits pCard use, Kenoi's right-hand man Lau has huge money advantage on Big Island, Kauai worries about sacred spots in Pokemon game, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Public Utilities Ciommission Chairman Randy Iwase, Lorraine Akiba and Tom Gorak
NextEra Energy Inc. has ended its plan to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and will pay the state’s largest utility $95 million in “break-up” fees and other costs, the two companies announced early today. Star-Advertiser.

NextEra Energy Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. have decided not to try to put their merger deal back together again. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and NextEra Energy Inc. have ended their plans to merge following the state’s decision Friday to reject the deal. KHON2.

Now that the state has denied Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.’s $4.3-billion bid to buy Hawaii’s largest electric utility, some see another black-eye to the state’s business reputation while others see opportunity. Star-Advertiser.

The state Public Utilities Commission has rejected the $4.3 billion proposal to sell Hawaiian Electric Industries to Florida-based NextEra Energy. Civil Beat.

Hawaii regulators on Friday shot down one of the biggest business deals in state history, which involved Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.'s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. Pacific Business News.

The Public Utilities Commission rejected the purchase of Hawaiian Electric Company by Florida-based NextEra Energy on Friday. Hawaii Public Radio

The state Public Utilities Commission voted to not approve a merger between Florida-based NextEra and Hawaii’s largest utility, saying the companies didn’t show they would provide adequate benefits to ratepayers or help the state meet its aggressive renewable energy goals. Associated Press.

The $4.3 billion deal for control of Hawaii’s power company has been rejected by state regulators. Big Island Video News.

Hermina Morita, former chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and an ex-state representative, filed a lawsuit on Friday against Thomas Gorak, who was appointed by Gov. David Ige to the PUC to replace Commissioner Michael Champley when his term ended June 30. Pacific Business News.

Press release: In a 2-0 decision, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (“PUC” or “Commission”) today dismissed without prejudice the Hawaiian Electric Companies (“HECO Companies”) and NextEra Energy’s (“NextEra”) (collectively, the HECO Companies and NextEra are referred to as the “Applicants”) Joint Application for the Change of Control (“Application” or “Change of Control”). Commissioner Thomas C. Gorak abstained from signing the Decision and Order.

=============================

The controversial Pono Choices sex education program taught in some Hawaii middle schools has helped increase students’ knowledge of preventing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, as designed, but students were not significantly deterred from engaging in risky sexual behaviors, an external review of the program released Friday concluded. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s delegates to the Republican National Convention have gathered in Cleveland this week to help adopt a sharply conservative new party platform and to join what they expect will be a grand celebration of the presidential nomination of Donald Trump. Star-Advertiser.

Tulsi Gabbard raised more than $420,000 in the April-June period. According to her July quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission, the Hawaii Democrat is sitting on $1.88 million in cash. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s salary ranks in the bottom two-thirds of salaries paid to the nation’s public college presidents, according to a report released today by the Chronicle of High Education. Lassner’s $375,000 base salary is No. 152 out of 260 leaders of public colleges and university systems. Star-Advertiser.

How many missiles, bombs and torpedoes does it take to sink a U.S. frigate? More than 10, a Rim of the Pacific exercise showed. Star-Advertiser.

What Happened When HECO Went To Wall Street. Energized by statehood and a booming economy, Hawaiian Electric began to reach beyond Oahu for investors and investments. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The latest Hawaii Poll shows former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou ahead in the race for Honolulu mayor, garnering more support among likely voters than incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former Mayor Peter Carlisle. Djou was the choice for 39 percent of poll participants — ahead of Caldwell at 30 percent, and Carlisle at 15 percent. Star-Advertiser.

If money were the only factor in an election, Mayor Kirk Caldwell would be re-elected in a landslide. The Honolulu mayor received $425,200 in campaign contributions in the first half of this year, far more than the next-highest amount for any state or city candidate. Charles Djou, who is also running for Honolulu mayor, came in second with $233,535. Civil Beat.

A solid majority of Oahu voters maintain the island’s rail transit project still should be built to Ala Moana Center as planned, the latest Hawaii Poll found. Star-Advertiser.

Most Oahu residents want the see the entire 20-mile rail system built all the way to Ala Moana Center. But even more people oppose raising property taxes to pay for the construction.  Hawaii News Now.

People on Oahu generally feel that the island’s homeless situation has gotten better in the year since the beating of a state representative in the heart of an entrenched encampment in Kakaako, and far fewer believe the problem’s gotten worse, results of the latest Hawaii Poll show. Star-Advertiser.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton retains a solid lead among Oahu voters as Republicans and Democrats prepare for their national conventions, with 49 percent of likely voters here saying they would vote for Clinton if the election for president were held today. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu police are hoping to begin a body camera pilot program by the end of this year. Star-Advertiser.

They live on the wrong side of Honolulu’s traffic jams and like everyone on the island they think housing costs too much, but it’s hard to find Mililani residents who are dissatisfied with their community. Civil Beat.

Thurston Twigg-Smith
, a scion of missionary descendants who helped make the once-weaker Honolulu Advertiser Hawaii’s dominant newspaper, died Saturday at the age of 94. Star-Advertiser.

Road repaving projects to begin in Iwilei, Kalihi, Kapalama, Liliha, Punchbowl and Pu‘unui. KITV.

Hawaii
If elections were won by money alone, mayoral candidate Wally Lau would be a shoo-in for the top Hawaii County post. Lau, Mayor Billy Kenoi’s former right-hand man, accumulated $183,705 in campaign contributions in the first six months of the year, eclipsing the rest of the 13-member field seeking the open seat.  West Hawaii Today.

Lawmakers are expecting a gas tax hike to be on the table again next year following the deferral of major highway improvements, including further widening of Highway 130 in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

Little Fire Ants, first discovered on Hawaii Island in 1999, likely arrived as hidden passengers in imported nursery plants. And there’s little sign they’re letting up in West Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County auditor will be reviewing county employee travel expenses after an investigation into government purchasing cards, known as pCards, revealed about $850,000 in travel spending from September 2014 to October 2015. Maui News.

Maui County Council hopefuls Yuki Lei Sugimura and Keith Regan, candidate newcomers, took in $54,000 and $42,000 respectively from January to June - the highest total of campaign donations received during the reporting period among all council candidates, according to campaign spending reports. Maui News.

Lawmakers are tentatively planning to close out their special veto override session Monday without taking any further action on a proposal for special severance payments and retirement benefits for the Maui hospital workers who will lose their state jobs when Gov. David Ige’s administration privatizes three hospitals in Maui County. Star-Advertiser.

The median price of a single-family home in Maui County for the first half of 2016 was $630,000 - with mostly local residents buying properties below that price and off-islanders snarfing up listings above that amount, the president of the Realtors Association of Maui said last week. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho has nominated Syngenta spokeswoman Beth Tokioka to the county’s Board of Water Supply despite concerns about the seed company’s record on water quality. Civil Beat.

The deadline for commenting on the latest paperwork from Hawaii Dairy Farms and their plan to establish a 699-cow dairy in the Mahaulepu Valley is a little more than a week away. Garden Island.

The fate of an amendment to a bill that would prohibit smoking in cars with minors could be settled Wednesday. When the Kauai County Council meets, it is expected to make a decision on amending Bill No. 2629, which would make it illegal for adults to smoke in a car if they are riding with keiki under the age of 18. Garden Island.

Computer Hospital owner Jeff Elkins’ troubles began when he received a warning letter from the Hawaii Department of Health asking him to cease and desist his “unpermitted operation of a solid waste management system.” Garden Island.

Two people searching for the augmented reality game “Pokemon Go’s” pocket monsters wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway, according to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.