Possibilities, prospects and pitfalls of Energy Choice Initiative to be discussed at Carson City luncheon | NevadaAppeal.com

Possibilities, prospects and pitfalls of Energy Choice Initiative to be discussed at Carson City luncheon

Ronni Hannaman
Carson City Chamber of Commerce

Ballot Question No. 3 is receiving a lot of airtime from both sides convincing you to vote for or against this complex initiative that would amend the Declaration of Rights within the Nevada Constitution should the voters vote in favor of a competitive retail energy market.

The initiative is far more complex than the professionally produced 30- or 60-second sound bites now being aired. So complex, in fact, the non-partisan Guinn Center for Policy Priorities conducted a data-driven, independent, bipartisan study earlier this year to present the facts to the voters, concluding "energy choice is neither good nor bad for Nevada."

Question 3 "would restructure the electricity market and may require NV Energy to unbundle its services," and "would allow independent power producers to vie for your energy business," according to the study.

The study reveals 22 states have chosen to restructure their energy markets with two additional states now considering it. However, seven of those states have — either in whole or in part — repealed their regulatory actions with up to four other states now considering repeal.

Currently, under Nevada law, NV Energy can't profit from fuel and purchased power costs and is governed by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission and, if Q3 is passed, the NPUC would have no further authority to protect consumers.

"Experience has suggested that implementation of a restructured market has not followed a simple, straightforward path," cites the study, noting in many states many subsequent bills needed to be passed to right the "unintended consequences" of the restructuring.

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In most states, voters weren't asked to amend their state constitution, preferring to seek change through the legislative route. New York changed their policy through a regulatory order issued by their PUC.

"Using the Nevada Constitution as a regulatory tool forces Nevada to proceed with restructuring even if legislators find the restructuring infeasible. To reverse a constitutional amendment would take two successive elections."

The Carson City Chamber will be addressing this controversial issue at its Sept. 25 luncheon at the Gold Dust West to which the interested public is invited. Homeowners and businesses will be similarly affected.

Study author Meredith A. Levine, director of Economic Policy for the Guinn Center in Las Vegas, will present her findings and methodology. She holds an M.A. and M. Phil from Yale University and was an analyst for the Congressional Research Service.

The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities is a nonprofit, bipartisan research and policy analysis center and seeks to identify and inform sound policies and solutions that support a thriving and prosperous 21st century Nevada.

The cost is $20 for the luncheon with advance reservations that can be made online at http://www.carsoncitychamber.com or by calling 775-882-1565.

SOUP’S ON LUNCHEON

When: 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25

Where: Gold Dust West

Cost: $20 in advance

Reservations: http://www.carsoncitychamber.com or 775-882-1565