U Memo 16-1

Posted on Jul 24, 2015 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 16-1
July 24, 2015
Confidential Commercial Information

Requester sought a decision as to whether, under Part II of the UIPA, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) properly redacted certain terms and conditions concerning the seller’s retention of the right to construct a wind farm (redacted Wind Farm Terms), which were contained in private property sales agreements that were disclosed.

The issue before the PUC was the transfer of utilities, and the redacted information concerned an unrelated matter contained in the private sales agreements.  OIP found credible the PUC’s assertion that disclosure of the redacted Wind Farm Terms would discourage persons from submitting to the PUC information related to but not directly about the matters that the PUC is reviewing.  Further, following OIP’s in camera review of both the redacted information and the PUC’s assertions in its order, OIP believed that there is a high potential for substantial competitive harm to the private parties seeking the PUC’s approval by disclosure of the redacted Wind Farm Terms.  Consequently, with the exception of certain document names, section headings, and page information that should not have been redacted from the sales agreements that were publicly disclosed, OIP concluded that the PUC was justified in withholding the redacted Wind Farm Terms as confidential commercial information protected under the “frustration” exception under HRS § 92F-13(3) (2012).