Maui County to explore new electric utility model

Local News

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa previous told KHON2 he wanted to hire a consultant to look at the different electric utility options for the county.

On Wednesday, his office took the first official step by posting a request for proposals (RFP).

The request says the $30,000 analysis is in response to the County’s concerns about the looming NextEra/Hawaiian Electric Industries merger before the Public Utilities Commission, and how it may affect area residents and businesses.

It will look at alternative forms of ownership and the alternative utility business models for Maui County’s electric utility company.

“We must look at our options, but to do that and have a constructive conversation about the matter we need more information,” Arakawa said. “This study will provide us that information, and will tell us if it would be best to start our own utility, form a co-op as Kauai did, allow the NextEra deal to go through or some other option. We need to make an informed decision as a community.”

The RFP gives the company or firm with the winning proposal four months to provide a preliminary appraisal of the costs associated with purchasing the electric utility company in its entirety and also certain parts of the utility.

It also requests a preliminary assessment of the benefits associated with public power and energy cooperative forms of ownership. In addition, the RFP asks for a preliminary recommendation of the utility structure and ownership option that would best support the transformation of the island grids on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai into near 100 percent renewable energy smart grids and micro-grids.

The deadline to submit proposals is 4 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2015.

For more information, call the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development at 270-7710.

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