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County to Complete Utility Study

County of Maui News Release

The County of Maui is moving forward with plans to a study on the electric utility options for the community, and results will be complete by mid-October. The study will examine alternate businesses models and whether the proposed NextEra merger is in the best interest of residents. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has selected an Oklahoma based firm to complete the study.

Guernsey, which had an Oahu office from 1999 to 2007, is an engineering, architectural and consulting firm which once worked with Hawaiian Electric and the U.S. Army when the military wanted to privatize its electrical systems on Oahu and Hawaii Island. According to Guernsey’s bid application the company has “worked with multiple electric utility/cooperative clients across the United States to review options for acquisition, consolidation, privatization and/or valuation.”

As part of the bid requirements, Guernsey will come up with an “options analysis of the alternative forms of ownership and the alternative utility business models for Maui County’s electric utility company.” Among other things, the study will allow the county to have a better idea about the NextEra proposed merger and whether it is in the best interests of the community.

“We have the natural resources to wean ourselves off of oil here in Maui County, but in order to do that we need a utility that will be able to evolve with the changing energy industry,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “Hopefully this study will be able tell us what is the best option for this type of utility evolution. This is important information that we can use to decide what’s best for the future of Maui County.”

The deadline for Guernsey to report back its findings to Maui County will be in mid-October. Initially the contract cost for the study was set at $30,000, however the amount was amended to $70,000 as well as the deadline moved up to next month in order to provide better information that may assist the county’s position in the NextEra/Maui Electric merger docket.

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