NEVADA ENERGY DEREGULATION
The energy deregulation law was passed in 1998, but left up to the states to implement. All 50 states were mandated to be completely energy deregulated, for both residential and commercial energy, by 2015.
In 2016, an organization known as the Nevadians for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices filed a proposed constitutional amendment with Nevada’s Secretary of State’s office. The proposed constitutional amendment is an attempt to open up Nevada’s energy market and become deregulated, giving consumers electric choice.
This proposed amendment follows closely on the heels of three large casino companies (Wynn Resorts, MGM Grand, and Las Vegas Sands) that want the freedom to choose other wholesale electricity sources. Should they decide to leave NV Energy, these casinos face exit fees (charged by Nevada’s PUC) of approximately $126 million in total.
While the fees have been challenged so far, should the companies look elsewhere for electricity they will still be stuck paying a hefty bill to the state.
As many states throughout the country deregulated energy, Nevada has seen an attempt to move towards a deregulated energy market before. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, lawmakers pushed to move electric utilities toward this model, however Kenny Guinn (the governor at that time) deemed the idea too high risk to make an official change.
Moving to amend the Nevada Constitution to include energy deregulation would be a huge step in helping all casinos, a major source of revenue for the state, to afford their electricity. It would also aim to help other types of residential and commercial customers within the state find more competitive rates for their homes and businesses.
The Energy Choice Initiative indicates the proposed amendment changes to the Nevada Constitution. Several new sections pertaining to electric choice are included in this document including:
Declaration of Policy:
“The people of the State of Nevada declare that it is the policy of this State that electricity markets be open and competitive so that all electricity customers are afforded meaningful choices among different providers, and that economic and regulatory burdens be minimized in order to promote competition and choices in the electric energy market.”
Rights of Electric Energy Purchasers:
“Effective upon the dates set forth in subsection 3, every person, business, association of persons or businesses, state agency, political subdivision of the State of Nevada, or any other entity in Nevada has the right to choose the provider of its electric utility service, including but not limited to, selecting providers from a competitive retail electric market, or by producing electricity for themselves or in association with others, and shall not be forced to purchase energy from one provider. Nothing herein shall be constructed as limiting such persons’ or entities’ rights to sell, trade or otherwise dispose of electricity.”
The document also indicates that laws need to be applied to establish this open energy market no later than July 1, 2023. It also requests “Legislature to set standards for safety, reliability, use of renewable resources, and protections for customers, but does not set or secure any certain price or rate structure.”
The proposed constitutional changes must move through a second vote in 2018 before it can officially be added to the state’s constitution. Energy issues and regulations are of particular interest to Nevada customers. This interest is directly related to the rise in solar panel technology and the subsequent higher rates approved last year by regulators for the customers that use solar panels.
Deregulation will bring opportunities to save on your electricity, and even earn by helping us gather customers. Ask us how.