Hawaii Utility Regulators' Lack Of Data Is 'Troubling'

Hawaiian Electric Co.

A contract for a new wind farm on Oahu's north shore is raising questions about why a project developer doesn't have to reveal seemingly critical financial information to state regulators who are charged with protecting consumer interests.

Boston-based First Wind and Hawaiian Electric Co. want the Public Utilities Commission to approve a new 69-megawatt wind farm at Kawailoa. But the company and the utility won't say how much the project will cost to build and operate or what the developer's profit margin is, according to Hawaii's consumer advocate.

So how can the commissioners tell whether ratepayers are getting a good deal if they don't have all the information?

State regulators’ lack of access to financial data is unusual and troubling, according to industry experts interviewed for this story, including consumer advocacy groups, the national trade group representing state public service commissioners and other state public utilities commissions.

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