NV Energy desperately trying to protect its monopoly status

Why would NV Energy pour $63 million of its money into trying to persuade Nevada voters to reject a constitutional amendment that would end its monopoly on supplying electricity to customers in the state? And since money is fungible, how might they recoup that expense from ratepayers through a pliable Public Utilities Commission that already has basically sided with the utility?

The power company has outspent proponents of Question 3 — the Energy Choice Initiative — by two-to-one.

Yes on 3 Executive Director Dave Chase said in a statement Wednesday that was quoted by the morning newspaper, “This is $63 million that should be used to lower rates for Nevada families. Instead, that money is being used to protect an out-of-state owned corporate monopoly. NV Energy is not spending play monopoly money, they are spending our money, all to protect their bottom line.”

Of course, the major backer of Question 3 is the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which would like to buy cheaper electricity without having to pay a multimillion-dollar exit fee to NV Energy. The casino company is owned by the same family that owns the newspaper, which today editorially backed Question 3.

So, it is billionaire Warren Buffett vs. billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

The editorial rightly points out:

For instance, opponents maintain that states with competitive retail electricity markets have higher prices than Nevada. But they use “average” prices as a comparison tool, a deceiving statistic that ignores the wide range of choices available, including lower-cost options. The more relevant issue is how prices reacted after the implementation of choice. Answer: They’re down. The Energy Research Consulting Group estimates consumers in the 14 states with competition have saved $25 billion in the past six years.

Yes, the big corporations are likely to save millions, but the residential homeowners are also likely to save a few bucks and competition might spur innovation, while a monopoly is content to keep things the same and collect its guaranteed 10 percent rate of return on investments.

(Getty Images via R-J)




5 comments on “NV Energy desperately trying to protect its monopoly status

  1. HighflyinBrien says:

    Generating, transmitting and supplying electrical energy is the ONLY monopoly that benefits consumers today and makes good sense for all consumers. There are good reasons why a monopoly regulated by the Nevada Public Service Commission appointed by the Governor who is answerable to the voters…is preferable over a potpourri of supposed other sources. The claim by proponents of Question 3 claim that competition will lower costs per kwh and bring cleaner renewable power to consumers is utter balderdash!!! Not one of the 16 de-regulated states nor the District of Columbia has a lower cost per kwh than NV Energy (which is currently 10.9 cents per kwh for residential customers). What the proponents desire to do is return the electrical industry back to the wild west days prior to the 1920’s where brown outs, black outs, power surges and bankruptcies ruled the day. After California de-regulated and experienced the pre-1920’s perils enumerated above…they went back to regulation! Texas has been trying to get this right since 2001…and still hasn’t done it! I called this the battle between billionaires many posts ago! Harry Reid is a proponent of Question 3 (MGM) as is Adam Laxalt (Sands Corp)…which is indicative of campaign financing than anything else! If it ain’t broke…don’t break it! https://quickelectricity.com/average-electricity-prices-and-deregulation/

  2. Rincon says:

    “The average price of electricity across deregulated states is $0.15/kWh, compared with $0.12/kWh for regulated states.” This does not at all prove that deregulation increases costs, but it certainly doesn’t look like deregulation has a major negative effect on rates. It does create winners and losers though. In my case, the local government shops for our rates, advising all of the residents of the best deal available, so we’ve done pretty well. Those without that service have to either spend hours comparing prices and terms or risk getting taken to the cleaners.


  3. HighflyinBrien says:

    And the promise of greener energy is a pipe dream. Since electricity can’t be stored it’s being bought and sold 24/7, 365 from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. The new “power choices” are buying energy on the wholesale spot market with the rates constantly changing and there is no way to guarantee what the generating source is that finally reaches your house. (What state are you in…if you don’t mind me asking?)

  4. Rincon says:

    Illinois. I agree that generating electricity when the Sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing is a challenge, however China has addressed it much more aggressively than us. They’re transmitting power extensively for over a thousand miles on ultra high efficiency DC power lines. They have more than ten times the lines that we have. In a country the size of the United States, if the wind is calm and it’s cloudy where you are, someone else is getting lots of both. As long as you can transmit power over long distances economically, it’s not a deal breaker. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-voltage_electricity_transmission_in_China

    Even here, they’re doing it somehow and apparently economically. Iowa generates more than 35% of their electricity from wind, but their electricity averages 12 cents per kwh. Pretty reasonable.

  5. Steve says:

    All my electrons are 100% recycled. I’m totally GREEN!

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