Hawaiian Electric shares Crater on concerns over potential responsibility for Maui fires

Key Points

  • Hawaiian Electric stocks fell on accusations that its power lines may have contributed to the deadly Maui wildfires.
  • A class-action lawsuit claims the utility failed to shut off power to its lines despite severe wind warnings.
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  • Stocks fell to their lowest level since December 2009 on the news.

Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE) shares plunged to their lowest level in more than 13 years on Monday amid fears the power company could face liability lawsuits related to the deadly Maui wildfires.

A class action lawsuit has been filed by certain residents in over the weekend, claiming Hawaiian Electric was negligent in choosing not to shut off power to its power lines during high wind watch and red flag warning conditions before the fire started, despite knowing the risks of falling lines. could start a fire. 

No official cause has yet been named for the fires, which broke out last Tuesday and killed at least 96 people, making it one of the deadliest in US history. Hundreds are still missing. Governor Josh Green said losses were approaching $6 billion.

Hawaiian Electric declined to comment on pending litigation.

The largest utility in California, PG& E, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019 after facing billions in liability claims when its faulty equipment was blamed for deadly fires there.

The actions of Hawaiian Electric Industries lost about a third of their value following the news.


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Source: investopedia.com

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