Hawaiian Electric Industries

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Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.
Company typePublic company
FoundedOctober 13, 1891; 132 years ago (1891-10-13)
HeadquartersHonolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
RevenueIncrease US$3.742 billion[1] (2022)
Increase US$381 million[1] (2022)
Decrease US$241 million[1] (2022)
Total assetsIncrease US$9.546 billion[1] (2022)
Total equityUS$468.885 million[1] (2022)
Number of employees
2,511 full-time[1] (2022)
SubsidiariesHawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
Hawai'i Electric Light Company, Inc.
Maui Electric Company, Limited
Pacific Current LLC
American Savings Bank
HECO power plant at Kahe Point in West Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI) is the largest supplier of electricity in the U.S. state of Hawaii, supplying power to 95% of Hawaii's population through its electric utilities: Hawaiian Electric Company serving Oahu, Hawai'i Electric Light Company serving The Big Island, and Maui Electric Company serving Maui, Lanai and Molakai. In addition, HEI owns a financial institution serving Hawaii, American Savings Bank, and a clean energy and sustainability company, Pacific Current LLC.[2]

Hawaiian Electric Company (abbreviated HECO and pronounced HEE-coh), Hilo Electric Light Company (later renamed Hawai'i Electric Light Company, abbreviated HELCO and pronounced HEL-coh), and Maui Electric Company (abbreviated MECO and pronounced MEE-coh) employ more than 2,000 people. Approximately 20,000 Hawaii residents are shareholders of HECO’s parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries.[3] The company is headquartered in Honolulu.

The island of Kauai is the only Hawaiian island not supplied by HEI. Instead, the consumer-owned Kauai Island Utility Cooperative manages that island's electricity.


Hawaiian Electric Company incorporated on October 13, 1891.[4] Within about 16 years the utility had 2,500 customers on Oahu. By 1914 HECO had started rural service to the windward side of the island and was marketing electric products like refrigerators and flat irons. In 1937 HECO broke ground on its second power plant, and transmission lines soon crisscrossed Oahu.[5]

War and statehood[edit]

During World War II HECO power plants linked to military bases, generating more than one million kilowatt hours of electricity each day. (= > 42 MW average power).

Hawaii became a state in 1959, and by then Oahu was entirely electrified. HECO opened a 116 MW plant in downtown Honolulu in 1954. The state's first reheat steam turbine generator went on line at Kahe on the west coast of Oahu. Today, Kahe is the state's largest plant with a total generating capacity of 650 MW.

Island expansion[edit]

HECO purchased Maui Electric Company in 1968. In 1970, HECO acquired the Hawaii Island's Hilo Electric Light Company. In 1988 MECO acquired the Lāna‘i City power plant on the island of Lānaʻi, and in 1989, Molokai Electric Company on the island of Molokaʻi. Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HEI) was created as a holding company for these various utilities in 1983.[2] In 2013, HECO began working with Siemens to develop a self-healing grid in eastern Oʻahu and Waikīkī to ensure a reliable electrical supply.[6]

On December 4, 2014, NextEra Energy tendered an offer to purchase HEI for $4.3 billion (equivalent to $5.45 billion in 2023).[7] The sale required approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.[8] On July 18, 2016, it was announced that the merger was cancelled after the Public Utilities Commission disapproved the deal.[9] The merger included plans to convert HEI's oil-fired generating plants to run on natural gas, which were to use liquified natural gas imported from a British Columbia plant of FortisBC. The upgrades were cancelled as they were dependent upon approval of the merger.[10]

On December 24, 2019, HECO announced that it would begin operating under a single name with its subsidiaries MECO and HELCO—Hawaiian Electric.[11]

Maui wildfires[edit]

At around midnight on August 8, 2023, a brush fire was ignited in the Kula area in the central part of Maui. This quickly spread all across many parts of Hawaii, causing buildings, houses, businesses, vehicles, and acres of land to be destroyed and burnt. Power lines that were owned by Hawaiian Electric were blown down and over 12,000 people that resided in the Maui area were left without power. As of August 17, 2023, 111 people have died due to the wildfire, more than a thousand people went missing, and thousands more were forced to evacuate Hawaii altogether. Investigations are currently underway to officially determine what caused the fire, and they are currently are looking into whether downed power lines and decisions by Hawaiian Electric were the cause of the deadly wildfires. As a result of the wildfires, much of Hawaii was under a red flag warning for fire risk when the wildfires broke out, particularly with high winds caused by Hurricane Dora, which was a Category 4 hurricane with high speed winds reaching maximum speeds of up to 145 miles per hour (233 km/h).[12]

"A flash drought in the region provided plenty of kindling, and Hurricane Dora brought strong winds to Maui as it passed roughly 500 miles (800 kilometers) south of the Hawaii island chain. Those winds downed at least 30 power poles in West Maui, and Hawaiian Electric had no procedure in place for turning off the grid — a common practice in other fire-prone states. Video shot by a Lahaina resident shows a downed powerline setting dry grasses alight, possibly revealing the start of the larger fire."[citation needed]

After the catastrophic and deadly wildfires, Hawaiian Electric's stock severely plummeted approximately 40%, its lowest since 2010, after it was facing a class action lawsuit that alleged that Maui’s devastating wildfires were caused by the utility’s energized power lines that were knocked down by strong winds, and that it chose not to shut off its power lines ahead of the Maui wildfires, despite knowing the safety risks of sparking a fire in those kind of conditions. It also stated that Hawaiian Electric still refused to shut down power lines despite it knowing that some of its power lines were knocked out by the heavy, high speed winds.[13] On August 23, it was reported that Hawaiian Electric had no procedure in place for turning off the grid — a common practice in other fire-prone states. [14]


In 2023, power handled by HEI was 33% renewable.[15] Hawai‘i Island set a record for HEI, generating a peak of 92.3% renewable power on April 25, 2023.[15] In 2016 HECO produced 8.8 TWh, of which 2.3 TWh were renewable.[16] Most of the power came from oil, using 8.5 million barrels in 2016, down from 10.7 million barrels in 2008.[17]

Hawaiian Electric supports the adoption of electric vehicles. The company's goal is to have the majority of vehicles in Hawaii be electric vehicles by 2045. As of November 2018, EVs were 1% of all vehicles. Hawaiian Electric filed a road map with the state.[18]

List shows HEI-owned power plants. Totals include power purchased from independent plant owners of various types and distributed solar.


Oil-fired generators at Hawaiian Electric Kahe Power Plant in Kapolei on the Waianae Coast

HEI's total firm generating capability in 2023 is 1,614.5 megawatts serving 306,978 customers. Non-firm capacity was 987.6 megawatts. In 2022, 28% of power came from renewable resources, compared to 25% in 2020.[19]

Oil Megawatts (MW)
Waiau 499
Kahe 651
CIP 130
Solar MW
West Loch Solar 20


Total firm generating capability in 2022 was 273.1 megawatts serving 73,933 customers. Non-firm capacity was 212.2 MW. 35.6% came from renewable resources, compared to 40.8% in 2020.[19]

Oil MW
Maalaea 212.1
Kahului 37.6
Lanai 9.4
Molokai 12.0
Hana (Dispersed generation) 2.0


Total firm generating capability in 2022 was 280.5 megawatts serving 88,757 customers. Non-firm capacity was 168.6 MW. 47.9% came from renewable resources, compared to 34.7% in 2020.

HELCO power plants (oil) MW
Hill 34.7
Puna 36.7
Keahole 77.6
Kanoelehua 21.0
Shipman 15.2 – Decommissioned in December 2015
Waimea 7.5
Dispersed generation 5.0
Hydropower MW
Pu‘u‘eo Hydro 3.4
Waiau Hydro 1.1

Electric vehicles[edit]

Through a cooperative effort with HECO, High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), an agency of the State of Hawai’i, initiated the Hawai’i Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project (HEVDP) consortium to develop an electric vehicle industry in Hawai’i.[20] The islands had about 5,000 rechargeable vehicles as of 2017.[17]


In 2015, the Hawaii State Legislature amended the State's Renewable Portfolio Standards to establish the nation's first goal of 100% renewable energy:[21]

Year RPS %
2020 30%[22]
2030 40%
2040 70%
2045 100%

Hawaiian Electric has indicated in its Power Supply Improvement Plan that it will achieve these goals ahead of schedule.[23] From 2021, HEI transitioned away from cost of service to Performance Based Regulation.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Transition Report United States Securities and Exchange Commission; Archived 2023-08-16 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "Company Profile". HEI. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "HECO Power Facts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  4. ^ "Birth Of HECO". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Electrifying Oahu". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Smart Grid Project Improves Grid Reliability for Oahu, Hawaii - References - Siemens". w3.siemens.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  8. ^ Chediak, Mark; Goossens, Ehren (December 4, 2014). "NextEra Buys Hawaii's Biggest Utility in Green Energy Test". Bloomberg News. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  9. ^ Steele, Anne (July 18, 2016). "NextEra, Hawaiian Electric Terminate Merger Bid". Wall Street Journal – via www.wsj.com.
  10. ^ "Aging Hawaii Plant Upgrades Halted After Failed Merger". Engineering New Record. Vol. 277, no. 4. BNP Media. July 15, 2016. p. 14.
  11. ^ Ladao, Mark (December 24, 2019). "Hawaiian Electric companies to operate under single name". Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
  12. ^ Czachor, Emily Mae (August 17, 2023). "How did Maui fire start, cause Lahaina, Hawaii wildfire". CBS News. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  13. ^ Rothenberg, Eva (August 14, 2023). "Hawaiian Electric Maui fires lawsuit". CNN. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  14. ^ "In deadly Maui fires, many had no warning and no way out. Those who dodged barricades survived". AP News. August 23, 2023. Retrieved August 23, 2023.
  15. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference HE24 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ "Clean Energy Facts". HECO. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Hawaii's Clean Energy and Oil Consumption Report Card". April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Hawaii Plan Plots Course to an All-Electric Car Future". www.govtech.com. April 10, 2018. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Power Facts". www.hawaiianelectric.com.
  20. ^ "High Technology Development Corporation > About Us". Archived from the original on July 16, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
  21. ^ "Act 097, HB623 HD2 SD2 CD1" (PDF). 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "Hawaii Electric blows past 2020 target on road to 100% renewable energy". RenewEconomy. February 23, 2021.
  23. ^ "2016 Power Supply Improvement Plan (PSIP) Update" (PDF). 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  24. ^ "Performance Based Regulation (PBR)". puc.hawaii.gov. Archived from the original on January 21, 2021.
  25. ^ Trabish, Herman K. (January 19, 2021). "Hawaii finalizes utility regulation considered potential template for US power system transformation". Utility Dive. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021.

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