Dueling editorials with opposite stances, yet both are fundamentally wrong

I never thought this would happen.

Today the Review-Journal and the Sun have editorials taking opposite stands on the same subject. The R-J is wrong, but for the wrong reason. The Sun is right, but for the wrong reason.

“All investments carry some degree of risk,” the R-J editorial begins.

The Sun editorial concludes, “This was worse than being marginalized; it was a bait-and-switch.”

They are both talking about the Public Utilities Commission decision to slash the credit for electricity uploaded to the grid by solar panels and triple the connection fees for those with solar panels.

The R-J headline should have read: Suckers!!!

The R-J “reasoned” that: “The changes apply not merely to future rooftop solar customers, but to the more than 17,000 existing panel owners who thought their investment was guaranteed.

“There is no such thing.”

No, that promise was made by the state of Nevada, the power company and the PUC. What fools are those who actually believed them and shelled out the thousands of dollars it takes to install solar panels? Fools like me.

Actually, the power company did not propose that existing owners have the rug jerked out from under them. That came from the PUC staff. The Sun mistakenly blames the greedy power company.

The R-J is right that the net metering scheme set up to entice people to install solar panels never penciled out, but that was the deal that was struck. Now, the R-J says it is perfectly OK for the state to renege and turn millions of dollars of assets into liabilities.

“Homeowners and businesses installed panels at little to no cost and were overcompensated for the surplus power they generated,” the R-J mistakenly claims, “allowing them to realize a reduction in their power bills at the expense of those who did not invest in solar panels.” Just how does this cost others?

The Sun was right about the bait-and-switch nature of the deal but wrong about the pie-in-the-sky belief that solar photovoltaic panels provide cheaper power. Actually, those coal-fired power plants provided cheaper power but the state outlawed those.

What neither editorial explained is how tripling connection fees for those who buy less power is justified. What if one conserves? Should that person be penalized for not using enough electricity?

“The new rates were supposed to take effect this weekend, and the PUC on Thursday will consider a stay on those rates,” the R-J concludes. “The PUC should stand its ground. It’s time for rooftop solar to stand on its own.”

It never did and never will. What is being done here is reversing a long-standing, clearly stated policy to push so-called clean power no matter the cost.

Will these net metering tariffs apply to all those local government owned solar panels? And who will pay for that?

Solar panels at UNLV’s Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

3 comments on “Dueling editorials with opposite stances, yet both are fundamentally wrong

  1. […] Dueling editorials with opposite stances, yet both are fundamentally wrong […]

  2. […] the second time in a matter of weeks the Las Vegas newspaper used its editorial page to criticize the state for […]

  3. […] I have said before the problem is that monopoly power companies have an infrastructure cost that remains no matter how […]

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