Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

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The PUC regulates a wide range of infrastructure and transportation companies. It oversees entities that deliver electricity, gas, private water and sewage services, telecommunications, and water and motor transportation services.

The commission has written in numerous annual reports that it aims to ensure that companies provide services “at just and reasonable rates while providing regulated companies the opportunity to earn a reasonable rate of return.”

The PUC was established as a part-time body in 1913 by Act 89. Its scope has expanded in the years since, the commission noted in a 2006 report to the Hawaii Legislature. The 1961 Hawaii Motor Carrier Law gave the commission power to regulate the motor vehicle transportation industry. The commission was granted regulatory authority over commercial water carriers by the Hawaii Water Carrier Act of 1974. It is now a full-time body and its role is codified in Chapter 269 of the Hawaii Revised Statues.

The PUC’s regulatory responsibilities include:

  • Setting rules and enforcing statutes regulating electric, water, transportation, gas and telecommunications companies
  • Implementing renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to draw a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources
  • Administering a one call center warning excavators of the location of buried installations such as pipes, ducts, conduits, sewer lines and storm drains

There are three commissioners, appointed by the governor to serve six-year terms, with the approval of the State Senate.

They are:

  • Hermina Morita, chair (Appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in March 2011 to replace Les Kondo, whose term was set to expire June 30, 2014.
  • Michael Champley (Appointed by Abercrombie in 2011 to replace Carlito Caliboso, who resigned in August and whose term was set to expire April 29, 2015.)
  • Lorraine Akiba (Appointed by Abercrombie in January 2012 for a term that expires June 30, 2018.)

For more information on the PUC, its commissioners and staff, go to the agency’s website.

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Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

July 2017

Monday, July 31

Hawaii Utilities Regulators Are Worried About Rising Electric Rates

May 2017

Friday, May 19

Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Gets A New Member — For Now

April 2017

Friday, April 28

Hawaii Senate Refuses To Confirm Gorak To The PUC

Friday, April 21

Committee Rejects Governor’s Choice For Utilities Commission

August 2016

Friday, August 26

Court: PUC Appointment Stands

Thursday, August 25

Hawaii Judge Mulls Legality Of Governor’s PUC Appointment

July 2016

Tuesday, July 19

NextEra Opponents Take Victory Lap, Ponder Hawaii’s Energy Future

Monday, July 18

Other Suitors For Hawaiian Electric

Tuesday, July 12

Investigation Sought After ‘Smear Complaint’ Against Utility Regulator

Wednesday, July 6

Senate President Wants AG Opinion On Ige’s PUC Appointment

June 2016

Wednesday, June 1

Hawaiian Electric: It’s ‘Misconception’ That Merger Deal Expires Friday

April 2016

Thursday, April 14

Aborted Solar Projects Create Headaches For HECO and Regulators

March 2016

Monday, March 28

NextEra Deal: What Happens If The PUC Loses A Member?

Wednesday, March 2

House Defines ‘Substantial Net Benefit’ For Utility Merger Proposals

Tuesday, March 1

What’s Next For NextEra’s Bid?

February 2016

Thursday, February 25

Why Do Business, Labor Groups Support The NextEra Merger?

Friday, February 19

Fortune: The Top Energy Company Is NextEra

Was Florida Power & Light Part Of A ‘Secret Campaign’ That Targeted Regulators?

Tuesday, February 9

Hawaiian Electric Against ‘Substantial Net Benefit’ For Utility Merger

Monday, February 8

Pointing to Hawaii Gas, NextEra Claims It Faces A Double Standard

Thursday, February 4

Hawaii Energy Regulators May See Changes To Their Own Power

Wednesday, February 3

PUC Scrutinizes NextEra Talks With Military That Led To New Promises

December 2015

Wednesday, December 2

NextEra Energy Merger: The Real Action Is In The Politicking

November 2015

Friday, November 20

Living Hawaii: Two-Thirds Of An Electricity Price Revolution?

Thursday, November 19

NextEra Hearing Transcripts To Go Online — Eventually

Friday, November 13

NextEra Merger Critics Blast PUC’s Plan Not To Post Hearing Transcripts Online

Wednesday, November 11

Bring On The Merger Case: Hawaii Energy Regulators Get Reinforcements

October 2015

Tuesday, October 27

Union Supports NextEra Merger At PUC’s Last Public Hearing

Wednesday, October 21

Rooftop Solar Group Sues Hawaii Energy Regulators Over Decision

Tuesday, October 20

PUC Commissioner Applies for Rooftop Solar Days Before PUC Cut the Credits

Tuesday, October 13

Utility Merger or Election Campaign? Debate Over NextEra Deal Blurs the Line

Thursday, October 1

NextEra Merger Takes Back Seat to Co-op Talk on Big Island

September 2015

Monday, September 21

Iwase Pushes the PUC: ‘I’m Not Here to Make Everyone Happy’

Friday, September 18

PUC: Media Can Cover HEI-NextEra Hearing

NextEra, Hawaiian Electric Revise List of Paid Consultants

Friday, September 4

Maui Gives State Utility Regulators an Earful on NextEra Dealma

Thursday, September 3

What Would a Nuclear Disaster in Florida Mean for Hawaiian Electric?

August 2015

Monday, August 31

NextEra, Hawaiian Electric Make New Commitments in Merger Deal

Thursday, August 20

Partners in Proposed Power Merger Pressed to Release LNG Emails

March 2015

Tuesday, March 24

Care to Weigh in on the Deal Between NextEra and Hawaiian Electric?

November 2014

Wednesday, November 26

There’s Big Money in Offering Discounted or Free Cellular Phone Service in Hawaii

February 2014

Thursday, February 6

Lawmakers May Let Public Utilities Commission Keep More Special Fund Money

August 2013

Friday, August 23

Former PUC Chair Won’t Represent Developer on Lanai Wind Project

Wednesday, August 21

Former PUC Chair Subject of Ethics Query By Hawaii Energy Regulators

July 2013

Thursday, July 18

Why Is Hawaii’s Consumer Advocate Losing Sleep?

April 2012

Saturday, April 14

Clean Energy Measures Advance as Legislature Winds Down

February 2012

Wednesday, February 8

Questions Raised About Abercrombie Handling of PUC Appointment

October 2011

Saturday, October 29

A Masterpiece of Corporate Chicanery