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The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has announced four major orders that collectively provide key policy, resource planning and operational directives to the Hawaiian Electric Cos.

The PUC says the orders require the Hawaiian Electric Cos. to develop and implement major improvement action plans to aggressively pursue energy cost reductions, proactively respond to emerging renewable energy integration challenges, improve the interconnection process for customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems and embrace customer demand response programs.

According to the PUC, the directives include the following:

- Integrated resource planning, which rejected the Hawaiian Electric Cos.' integrated resource plan submission, has commenced other initiatives in lieu of an approved plan to enable resource planning and proffered a white paper entitled "Commission's Inclinations on the Future of Hawaii's Electric Utilities." The white paper outlines the vision, strategies and regulatory policy changes required to align the Hawaiian Electric Cos.' business model with customers' changing expectations and state energy policy and provides specific guidance for future energy planning and project review, including strategic direction for future capital investments.

- The reliability standards working group makes various rulings regarding the final work product of the working group and provides the PUC's observations and perspectives regarding integrating utility-scale and distributed renewable energy resources in a reliable and economic manner. The working group also directs the Hawaiian Electric Cos. - and in some cases, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative - to take timely actions to lower energy costs, improve system reliability and address emerging challenges to integrate additional renewable energy.

- The policy statement and order regarding demand response programs provides specific guidance concerning the objectives and goals for demand response programs and requires the Hawaiian Electric Cos. to develop a fully integrated demand response portfolio that will enhance system operations and reduce costs to customers.

- The Maui Electric Co. (MECO) 2012 test year rate case accepted the PUC consultant's report reviewing MECO's system improvement and curtailment reduction (SICR) plan and directs MECO to file a power supply improvement plan to address the SICR plan's shortcomings.

The Hawaiian Electric Cos. comprise MECO, Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co.

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