Our Islands, Our Future
DougMcLeod, County of Maui Energy Commissioner

DougMcLeod, County of Maui Energy Commissioner

What will future consumers want and expect from their utility? That is just one question Hawaii leaders and others across the country are expected to tackle at the upcoming conference: “Electric Utilities: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be.” The event scheduled for March 26-28 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center comes at a time when Hawaii is experiencing an unprecedented wave of growth in solar and wind generation. The gathering will provide a forum for open and frank discussions about the rapidly changing energy landscape and its implications for power utilities, policymakers and consumers.

The County of Maui and the Maui Economic Development Board are presenting the conference with the support of numerous partners. County of Maui Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod asks: “The traditional investor-owned utility model has worked in the past, but will it be the right model for tomorrow’s electric utility?” McLeod said he hopes the conference will bring new faces and ideas to Hawaii from Japan and the Mainland. MEDB President and CEO Jeanne Skog said she and her agency are pleased to partner in the event. “As Maui County continues to move aggressively toward clean energy goals, this dialogue will contribute to creating a new template for how utilities will best serve our residents,” Skog said.

McLeod said open and frank discussions are important to understanding the impact renewable energy alternatives are having on electricity usage and electric rates. Conference organizers have confirmed keynote presentations from Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, and Ron Binz, former chief of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The conference also expects to spur discussions on other questions, including: what are the key drivers shifting today’s energy paradigm; how can states achieve a mix of clean energy to satisfy all stakeholders; and what are the key elements of a 21st century energy utility business model.

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