Merger expected to benefit users

POIPU — Confident of the continued abundance of low-cost, clean energy for Hawaii residents, Eric Gleason told members of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce Thursday that a proposed utility merger will provide customers with a decisive synergy.

Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC, addressed about 150 members of the Kauai Chamber during its first quarter membership meeting at the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

“We are a capable company doing things at the very lowest cost possible to our customers,” Gleason said. “Our commitment has been, and will continue to be, providing the lowest energy prices, greener energy and a local presence.”

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is reviewing a $4.3 billion merger between NextEra and Hawaiian Electric Co., a business move endorsed by many chambers of commerce across the state, Gleason said.

As president of NextEra, Gleason said he has spent considerable time learning about the energy desires and expectations of Hawaiians. “My favorite part of the job is going around the state and talking about energy issues — and we’ve learned a lot,” he told the Chamber.

Gleason said he pleased with the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of the utility merger and looks forward to a decision soon from the PUC.

Should the merger occur, Gleason said Hawaiian Electric will be even more successful with the added resources of NextEra.

“We are philosophically aligned and focused on the same values serving our customers,” he said.

NextEra said it is encouraged with broad statewide support for the utility merger that would benefit customers through:

w NextEra Energy’s commitments including nearly $1 billion in customer savings and economic benefits, including $60 million in guaranteed customer savings;

w NextEra Energy accelerating Hawaiian Electric’s development of more modern grids throughout the islands through the deployment of smart meters, including time-of-use rate options, by approximately two years;

w NextEra Energy’s pledge to maintain Hawaiian Electric’s 2014 levels of charitable giving of at least $2.2 million annually for a minimum of 10 years and to preserve local headquarters, local management and the Hawaiian Electric name.

Gleason said the PUC is “poised to make a decision” on the merger and is confident with the outcome.

Florida-based NextEra is America’s largest owner and operator of wind and solar electricity generating assets. The company has 85 wind facilities in 17 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.

In addition to wind and solar, NextEra Energy Resources owns and operates generating plants powered by natural gas, nuclear fuel and oil.

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