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.

Right, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Electric Alan Oshima and NEXTera President Eric Gleason speak to editorial board.  16 dec 2014. photograph Cory Lum
Hawaiian Electric CEO Alan Oshima, right, and NextEra Hawaii President Eric Gleason speak to the Civil Beat Editorial Board earlier this year. The companies have revised their list of paid consultants in the proposed deal. 

“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.

PUC Chair Randy Iwase, right, and Commissioner Lorraine Akiba listen to a person comment on the prosed NextEra-HEI merger during a meeting on Maui, Sept. 4.
PUC Chair Randy Iwase, right, and Commissioner Lorraine Akiba listen to a person comment on the prosed NextEra-HEI merger during a meeting on Maui, Sept. 4. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

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.

Third Party Amount
Alston & Bird $75,000
Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing $58,000
Anthology Marketing Group $2,000
Ashford & Wriston LLP $21,000
Bennet Group $230,000
Blackstone Holdings $1,017,000
Boies Schiller & Flexner $68,000
Boston Consulting Group $0
Building Industry Association $0
Citibank $8,060,000
Concentric Energy Advisors $513,000
D.F. King $0
Deloitte and Touche $105,000
DTL $84,000
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC $4,000
Ernsts Young $149,000
Feldman Gale PA $0
Fitch, Inc. $75,000
Gordon M Arakaki $24,000
Integrity Graphics $2,000
Intralinks $4,000
Joele Frank $1,135,000
JP Morgan $0
Kaimana Hila $0
Moody’s Investor Service $175,000
Morihara Lau & Fong $832,000
MykroBel LLC $8,000
NSTI $15,000
P Plus Corporation $45,000
PricewaterhouseCoopers $0
Radey Thomas $49,000
Rod S. Aoki, Attorney-at-Law $0
Schlack Ito $223,000
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP $109,000
SKD Knickerbocker $565,000
Slovin Ito $76,000
Squire Patton Boggs US LLP $31,000
Standard & Poors Financial Services LLC $250,000
Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher $84,000
StrataG Consulting, Inc. $22,000
Tulchin Research $70,000
Wachtell Upton Rosen & Katz $6,650,000
TOTAL $20,829,000

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