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Governor names new cable TV administrator

MEDIA RELEASE

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Catherine Awakuni to lead the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Cable Television Division (CATV) as its administrator, effective Aug. 15, 2013.

A resident of Pauoa, Awakuni has served as chief counsel for the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) since 2011.

In her capacity at the PUC, she supervised the legal section and advised the commissioners in the review and analysis of various dockets and special projects relating to the applications and investigations of electric, gas, water, wastewater, telecommunications, water and motor carrier companies.

Awakuni also has extensive experience at DCCA, where she worked as executive director of the Division of Consumer Advocacy from September 2006 to December 2009.

In her role at DCCA, she represented Hawaii utility consumers before the PUC as the state consumer advocate.

“Hiring Catherine is an immense win for the people of this state,” DCCA Director Kealii Lopez said. “We are excited to bring Catherine back to the department to be a champion of consumers, especially since she has such a deep understanding of utilities and their impact on consumers. Her strong career exemplifies the type of quality professional that Gov. Abercrombie wants to keep in state government as the state addresses important technological advances and evolving regulatory structures.”

“Although Catherine’s departure leaves big shoes to fill at the PUC, I am delighted that her expertise, integrity and commitment to public service is being recognized by Gov. Abercrombie and Director Lopez to fill this very important position,” PUC Chairwoman Hermina Morita said.

“This is a transformative time for broadband development and the cable TV industry,” Awakuni said. “I’m excited to draw from my regulatory experiences to further the development of cable and broadband services in the state.”

CATV regulates franchised wireline cable operators within the State of Hawaii. CATV determines whether the initial issuance, renewal or transfer of a cable franchise is in the public’s best interest.

The division is also one of the lead state agencies in the Abercrombie Administration’s initiative to provide ubiquitous access to high speed broadband at affordable prices throughout the state.

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