Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the planned acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Industries by Florida based-NextEra Energy, according to a joint press released issued by the two companies on Monday.

NextEra announced in December that it was planning to purchase Hawaii’s major electric utility as part of a $4.3 billion deal.

The purchase includes Hawaiian Electric Co. on Oahu, Hawaii Electric Light Co. on the Big Island and Maui Electric Co., which serves Maui, Lanai and Molokai.

As part of the deal, American Savings Bank, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries, will be spun off into an independent company.

Jim Robo, chairman and CEO of NextEra Energy, stands beside Connie Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, at a press conference announcing the $4.3 billion merger.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The purchase still has to be approved by Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission and HEI shareholders. The PUC has indicated that it may not rule on the deal until the middle of next year. Meanwhile, more than two dozen entities, including solar trade groups, county and state agencies and other energy companies have intervened in the quasi-judicial proceedings taking place before the PUC.

“Approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission represents a significant step toward the completion of our merger,” Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, said in a statement. “Through our partnership, we will apply our combined expertise and resources to deliver significant savings and value to Hawaiian Electric customers. We will continue to work closely with our