Gov. David Ige has selected Naomi Kuwaye, a Honolulu attorney who specializes in utilities law, to succeed Jay Griffin on the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission when Griffin’s term expires June 30, 2022, the governor announced Friday.

Naomi Kuwaye
Naomi Kuwaye has been appointed to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission Office of the Governor

If Kuwaye is confirmed by the Hawaii Senate, her term will run from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2028. Griffin, the PUC chair, has said he will step down at the end of his term, which ends on June 30. It is unclear who the next chair will be.

Kuwaye is now an attorney at Ashford & Wriston, LLP, where she has worked since 2012. According to her law firm profile, she specializes in environmental and natural resource law, public utilities, and administrative law: areas frequently at the heart of cases that come before the commission, as Hawaii adopts an energy policy aimed to wean itself from fossil fuels to produce electricity by 2045.

Kuwaye’s experience as a lawyer practicing before the commission includes representing “a $16 billion dollar renewable energy company in one of Hawaii’s largest energy dockets,” her profile says.

Kuwaye earned a juris doctorate from Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law and a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science from the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa.

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