NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric Industries have clarified who they are paying as consultants in their proposed $4.3 billion merger deal.
In a filing this week with the state Public Utilities Commission, attorneys representing the two companies said they did not mean to include Maui Economic Development or the University of Hawaii in their initial list of 13 entities that had collectively received $2.8 million of the estimated $3.7 million that they expect to spend on consultants to complete the transaction.
The original Sept. 3 breakout, provided in response to an Aug. 19 information request from The Alliance for Solar Choice, shows the companies had paid $20,000 to UH and $15,000 to Maui Economic Development as of July 30.
“The revised breakout excludes sponsorship payments and charitable contributions to Maui Economic Development and University of Hawaii that were inadvertently included in the breakout provided in the Applicants’ original response,” according to the Sept. 16 filing. “The Applicants’ original response included these entities as third party expenditures associated with the transaction. These third parties are not consultants to the Applicants.”
UH is planning to hold three public meetings on the north shore of Oahu about the proposed buyout of HEI by NextEra. The first is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, at the Patagonia store in Haleiwa.
The university’s Energy Justice Working Group plans to use the public input process as the basis for a comprehensive policy report with recommendations for the PUC to consider.
Meanwhile, the PUC is holding its own “listening sessions” around the state. The commission held one on Maui last Friday and went to Lanai on Saturday. The next one is Saturday on Molokai, then the commission heads to the Big Island and Kauai, and finishes up Oct. 27 on Oahu.
The PUC hopes to make a decision by June on the proposed merger. The applicants and 28 intervenors have been exchanging information for the past several months ahead of the formal evidentiary hearing that’s set to start Nov. 30 at Blaisdell Arena.
The list of advisors, consultants and other third parties was also revised from the initial filing.
In early September, NextEra and HEI said they were spending $21.4 million on advisors, consultants and other third parties. Their filing this week snipped off five groups, bringing the total down to $20.8 million as of July 31.
Maui Economic Development, Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber Foundation, National Conference of State Legislature, the Securities and Exchange Commission and UH were removed from the list.
“The Applicants inadvertently included these entities as within the scope of the question because they represent third party expenditures associated with the transaction,” the companies’ latest filing says. “However, the Applicants have not retained nor anticipate retaining these third parties as defined in the scope of this information request.”
The revised list of third party costs still includes law firms like the New York-based Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, which has received $6.65 million as of July 31.
It also includes strategy firms like Kaimana Hila, which is owned by Jennifer Sabas, the former chief of staff to the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye. Kaimana Hila had not been paid anything as of July 31.
Also receiving money from NextEra and HEI as an adviser is DTL, a strategy company headed by WCIT Architecture President Rob Iopa. DTL also employs state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz as vice president for communications. The Honolulu firm had received $84,000 as of July 31.
Here’s the revised list of advisers, consultants and other third parties as of July 31.
Alston & Bird
Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing
Anthology Marketing Group
Ashford & Wriston LLP
Boies Schiller & Flexner
Boston Consulting Group
Building Industry Association
Concentric Energy Advisors
Deloitte and Touche
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC
Feldman Gale PA
Gordon M Arakaki
Moody’s Investor Service
Morihara Lau & Fong
P Plus Corporation
Rod S. Aoki, Attorney-at-Law
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Squire Patton Boggs US LLP
Standard & Poors Financial Services LLC
Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher
StrataG Consulting, Inc.
Wachtell Upton Rosen & Katz
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