Monopoly motive? Hu Honua files antitrust suit against HELCO

Hawaii Tribune-Herald, December 3, 2016

Article by Tom Callis

Hu Honua Bioenergy filed a civil antitrust complaint in federal court this week, alleging Hawaii Electric Light Co. terminated their power purchase agreement to increase monopolistic control over Hawaii Island’s energy production.

HELCO ended the agreement in March, citing Hu Honua’s failure to meet project milestones for construction of a biomass power plant in Pepeekeo.

But the lawsuit, which also names NextEra Energy and Hamakua Energy Partners as defendants, claims the utility unlawfully terminated its agreement and rejected offers to reduce power costs and extend deadlines.

“Hu Honua regrets that the matter has come to this,” said Harold Robinson, president of Island BioEnergy, the power plant’s majority owner, in a written statement. “We’d rather have a power plant than a lawsuit.”

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