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Report: Maui Electric attracts potential buyers, mayor says

Maui County, Hawaii, Mayor Alan Arakawa said in an interview with the Pacific Business News that a number of companies have shown interest in acquiring Maui Electric Co. Ltd.

According to a March 23 report by the Pacific Business News, the acquisition offers come on the heels of a $70,000 study analyzing alternative forms of ownership and utility business models for the county's electric utility.

The study, conducted by the firm Guernsey, found that a private company interested in purchasing Maui Electric's assets could expect to pay in the range of $525 million to $867 million.

"We're definitely still looking at alternatives," Arakawa was quoted as saying March 22 at the Maui Energy Conference. "When we hired Guernsey to do the report, it wasn't to replace MECO. It was about what can be most beneficial to the county. What's the best methodology to shift to. We're looking at all the different rules and regulations in place. We're looking at different changes to the grid system and different types of energies. All of this was a movement to explore the area of alternative energies."

Arakawa added that the potential buyers of the Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. subsidiary are working with the county to implement an independent system operator designed to manage the new system.

Maui Electric's ultimate parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., did not comment on the issue to the Pacific Business News. Arakawa clarified that he is not involved in any negotiations between Maui Electric and other parties.