Hawaiian Electric Industries made a strong comeback today, with its shares surging by 35% in premarket trading. The utility company has been facing multiple lawsuits in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires that occurred earlier this month in Hawaii. As a result, it had to suspend its dividend to improve its financial situation.
Defending Its Position
The spike in share price comes after Hawaiian Electric decided to fight back against accusations that its power lines were responsible for the deadly wildfire on Maui island. The company intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations made in the lawsuits.
Questioning Maui County's Allegations
One of the major lawsuits was filed by Maui County, which claimed that Hawaiian Electric acted negligently by not shutting down its equipment despite a warning from the National Weather Service. In response, Hawaiian Electric's CEO, Shelee Kimura, expressed surprise and disappointment at the county's haste in taking legal action before completing its own investigation. Kimura emphasized that the company believes the lawsuit is both factually and legally irresponsible.
Addressing the Fires
While Hawaiian Electric acknowledged that one fire was caused by power lines falling due to high winds, it clarified that the fire was subsequently extinguished by the local fire department. Furthermore, the company stated that all power lines in West Maui had been de-energized for over six hours before the second fire broke out, resulting in the destruction of Lahaina and claiming numerous lives.
Forced Legal Action
Kimura lamented that the county's lawsuit might leave Hawaiian Electric with no choice but to demonstrate its responsibility in court. The utility company may have to rely on the legal system to make its case regarding what happened that fateful day.
No Comment from Maui County
As of now, there has been no response from the legal representatives of Maui County regarding Hawaiian Electric's statement. They have not yet commented on the utility company's intention to defend itself against the allegations.
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