Someone didn’t do the math on NV Energy story

As a longtime editor, I used to tell reporters and editors frequently and with considerable frustration: Do the math!

Either the Las Vegas Review-Journal today buried the lede on its story about NV Energy mothballing its coal-burning power plants ahead of schedule or failed to do the math.

Well down in the story we are told:

“The utility expects to submit its plans to the Public Utility Commission of Nevada within a year. The PUC would have 210 days to review and approve the retirement of power plants, the construction of new ones and other aspects of the transition away from coal.

“The commission also will consider rate increases — 3.84 percent a year for 20 years, on average — NV Energy expects to need to help pay for the conversion, which could generate as many as 4,700 construction jobs and 200 operation and maintenance jobs.”

In this case the math involves compounding.

You see, if your monthly power bill today is, say, $100 at the end of 20 years of 3.84 percent annual increases it would be $212.47. I think that would warrant a banner headline reading: “NV Energy plan would double power bills in 20 years.”

Coal-fired power plant to be shut down early.

The problem is that the story posted online Wednesday afternoon, trailing the Las Vegas Sun’s posting of a similar story by about 14 hours, said, “The commission also will consider a 3.84 percent rate increase NV Energy will seek to help pay for the conversion …” without mentioning it would 3.84 percent a year.

A Sun story says: “The company estimates the plan could result in a nearly 4 percent increase in rates over the next 20 years …”

Testifying Wednesday afternoon before a state Senate committee in Carson City, public relations flack Pete Ernaut, representing NV Energy, said the plan had a “total rate impact of less than 4 percent over the next 20 years.”

12 comments on “Someone didn’t do the math on NV Energy story

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Nevada parliamentarians, aka, el foldo to the wishes of their master Harry Reid, will go along. Odd that former assemblyman Brooks is pictured as psychologically challenged when the entire assemblage, purportedly gathered to represent Nevada citizens, hear only Reid’s voices in their head saying “green as in energy and dollars,” they should all run for the border and with any luck, they will be rounded up by lawmen in California.

  2. And it’s no skin off NV Energy’s nose. They get reimbursed for every dollar it takes to dismantle the coal plants, down to any surplus coal that is left over. Since they get a return on equity, the more equity in plants and facilities the better.

    I could almost hear Pete Ernaut pleading with the Senate committee: Please don’t throw us in the briar patch.


  3. Vernon Clayson says:

    It’s another gift that keeps on giving, there’s a nuclear waste site near West Valley NY that started in 1961 and closed in 1972 but the cleanup is apparently to be funded by taxpayers for perpetuity. Perhaps closed down coal plants will similarly provide employment for generations of workers. Who’d a thought, it’s beyond a win-win for Harry and the greenies, the coal plant shuts down, it’s demolished and the debris is hauled away and then layers on layers of poisoned mother earth are hauled away to a landfill that will eventually be condemned, and the circle continues. Grim and determined security guards will be on 24/7, water trucks will circle endlessly about the site. Windmills and solar panel, from China, go up but the noise of the windmills will drown out the sound of the ancient desert winds and haunt the days and nights of the Paiute. This really is odd, the Paiute aren’t a large voting bloc and they likely aren’t huge contributors to his campaigns, naw, not odd, it has little to nothing to do with the Paiute, it’s the old refrain, follow the money.

  4. Mike C. says:

    For a while now I’ve been saying that, if we are to believe the Keynesians, on every public works project we should hire a crew of unemployed to come in after hours and demo some of the work done that day. We would be “creating jobs” for those unemployed people and also providing more work, thus more jobs, for the workers on the project.

    Sound ridiculous? Well, what’s the difference between spending money tearing down a perfectly good section of highway to “create jobs” and tearing down a perfectly good power plant to “create jobs”?

  5. Dig a hole one day, fill it the next, Michael?


  6. Rincon says:

    Sounds like they’re trying to make a lawsuit go away – or limit damages if they lose.

  7. Mike C. says:

    That’s another example, Thomas. We could also encourage people to litter, forcing us to hire more people to clean trash, thus “creating” even more jobs.

    There are all manner of absurdities you could associate with the concept because the concept is absurd.

    But, for reasons that I won’t speculate on here except to say they may be related to why some professional journalists with college degrees can’t do simple math, too many members of our society believe that Bastiat’s Broken Windows Fallacy is itself a fallacy.

  8. Most people never heard of Bastiat.


  9. Mike C. says:

    And they believe the policy that he ridicules actually works.

  10. 4TH ST8 says:

    […] of mañana, that R-J story posted Thursday with the erroneous information about what NV Energy ratepayers could expect to pay for a plan to scrap coal-fired plants and […]

  11. […] of mañana, that R-J story posted Thursday with the erroneous information about what NV Energy ratepayers could expect to pay for a plan to scrap coal-fired plants and […]

  12. […] compounding, that would’ve meant a $100 power bill today would be, at the end of 20 years of 3.84 percent annual increases, […]

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