Hawaiian Electric faces financial, legal woes from deadly Maui wildfires

(Reuters) -The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday asked Hawaiian Electric’s CEO Shelee Kimura to testify at a hearing investigating the causes of the wildfire that killed at least 115 people and razed the historic town of Lahaina.

The Honolulu-based power company’s market value has slumped by more than 60% to $1.45 billion since Aug. 8, when the wildfires began, amid scrutiny over its involvement.

Here is a sequence of key events involving the troubled utility:

Date Development

Aug. 8 Wildfires begin at night and wreak destruction in

Lahaina, a city of 13,000 people in northwestern


Aug. 11 Hawaiian Electric says it is working with the

county to investigate the cause of wildfires.

Aug. 12 Residents file two class-action lawsuits in state

courts claiming that the utility is responsible

for the wildfires.

Aug. 15 Ratings agency S&P downgrades Hawaiian Electric

to junk status as investor concerns grow.

Aug. 16 The Wall Street Journal reports Hawaiian Electric

is speaking with restructuring advisory firms to

address potential financial and legal challenges.

Aug. 17 Hawaiian Electric shares briefly hit their lowest

since 1985.

Aug. 18 Moody’s also downgrades the company’s credit

rating to junk status.

Hawaiian Electric says it was not looking to

restructure but was seeking expert advice amid

questions over its role in the wildfires.

Aug. 21 Fitch also downgrades its ratings, saying the

potential liabilities are an “existential


Aug. 22 Hawaiian Electric says it has sought advice from

boutique advisory firm Guggenheim Securities.

Aug. 24 Shareholders file a lawsuit against the utility

provider in a San Francisco federal court.

The county of Maui sues Hawaiian Electric for

negligence that led to the fires.

Hawaiian Electric suspends its dividend and

announces steps to strengthen its balance sheet.

S&P further downgrades Hawaiian Electric’s credit

rating, citing its likely inconsistent access to

capital markets.

Aug. 28 Hawaiian Electric says it had shut off its power

lines more than six hours before the Lahaina fire

began, disputing claims of its involvement.

Aug. 30 The White House says the Department of Energy

would provide $95 million to Hawaiian Electric

through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to

strengthen its power grids.

Sept. 5 A victim’s kin files a lawsuit against the state

of Hawaii, Maui county as well as Hawaiian

Electric for negligence leading to the wildfires.

Sept. 14 U.S. Congress asks Hawaiian Electric CEO Shelee

Kimura to testify at a hearing to find out the

cause of the deadly wildfire.

(Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)