After changing its position Tuesday to support the proposed $4.3 billion buyout of Hawaiian Electric Industries by NextEra Energy, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1260 has filed a motion to withdraw as an intervenor in the docket before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
The electrical workers union, which represents more than 1,300 members employed by Hawaiian Electric companies, says it no longer has a substantial reason to be involved in the case since it brokered a deal with NextEra that ensures the Florida-based firm would train current and future members for new jobs and not lay off anyone for at least two years after the sale goes through.
“As a result of these many discussions, IBEW Local 1260 is now satisfied that NextEra Energy’s commitment to the Local Union’s current and future members, to local union contractors and their employees, to the Hawaiian Electric Companies, to Hawaii’s clean energy future, and to the State of Hawaii is earnest and in that the Proposed Changed of Control is in the public interest,” IBEW attorney Amy Ejercito wrote in the motion to withdraw.
The PUC is finishing its statewide public listening session tour Tuesday on Oahu before switching gears to the evidentiary hearing, a weeks- or possibly months-long quasi-judicial process that starts Nov. 30 at Blaisdell.
The Consumer Advocate, two state agencies and the 26 remaining intervenors in the case, many of which represent rooftop solar interests, are expected to argue against the merger while HEI and NextEra explain why they think it’s in the public’s best interest.
A decision was initially expected by June, but PUC Chair Randy Iwase said it could take longer.