The Devil is in the Details

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Guest post by Lydia Ball

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) is holding a Consumer Session on October 16th. The purpose of the Session is to take comments from ratepayers about the merger between NV Energy and MidAmerican. If you care about clean energy in Nevada, this is important, and I want you to attend.

Nevada took some giant strides towards a local clean energy economy in the 2013 Legislative Session, cleaning up the Renewable Portfolio Standard, supporting rooftop solar and moving away from coal as a resource in our state. These were amazing achievements, and they will make a huge difference to Nevadans. However, this is not the end of the story.

Legislators set energy policy. The PUCN works out how to implement the policy. The Legislature directed the PUC that Nevada will move to decommission coal-burning power plants like Reid Gardner. The PUCN will determine how that process will be carried out. And, as with so many things, the devil is the details. Small differences in the regulatory process can have a huge effect on long-term goals. It’s crucial that supporters of clean energy stay involved.

The good news is that the PUCN can be very responsive to ratepayers’ concerns. A major part of the Commission’s mandate is to balance the interests of customers and shareholders. As part of that mandate, the Commission offers opportunities for ratepayers to comment and state preferences. This is not an empty gesture – the PUCN listens to what ratepayers have to say, especially when many of us come out to make our voices heard. Consumer Sessions, like the one being held tomorrow evening, offer real opportunities for consumers to have a direct impact on regulation and process.

MidAmerican’s acquisition of NV Energy is a pretty big deal. Members of the PUCN will be at the Consumer Session, of course, but so will representatives from NV Energy and MidAmerican and other stakeholders. They want to know ratepayer concerns, and they want to understand the public’s priorities. I will be there to tell them about sensible investments in local clean renewable energy. Please join me. If enough of us speak, we can make sure that furthering our clean energy economy is a major consideration in the merger, as policy are implemented, and as decisions are made going forward.

Lydia Ball is the Executive Director of the Clean Energy Project, NV.  Please RSVP to attend the Consumer Session in Las Vegas or by videoconference in Carson City. Can’t make it?  Sign the Clean Energy Project petition in support of clean energy.

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