Friday, April 12, 2013

Invasion of the NV Energy Bill Snatchers

On Wednesday, NV Energy reached a breakthrough. Its stock hit a 52 week high. And it did so due to a strong first quarter earnings report... And talk of NV Energy's NVision plan.

When Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D-North Las Vegas) and Assembly Member David Bobzien (D-Reno) originally proposed SB 123, they offered a bill to strengthen Nevada's renewable energy standard. It was amended today... To become NV Energy's NVision plan. And the Senate Commerce, Labor, & Energy Committee just approved the new SB 123 (that is, NV Energy's) language unanimously and moved it to the Senate Finance Committee.

So what just happened? Long story short: NV Energy got its way. Its lobbyists demanded this, so this is what the committee agreed to do.

So now, the SB 123 that's been gutted and amended into NV Energy's NVision (For more renewable energy? Natural gas fracking? Higher electric rates? All of the above?) moves to the full Senate for consideration. And one can only hope the full Senate really considers what this means.

Sure, Nevada needs more of its own renewable energy generation. Nearly everyone (except a few "tea party" radicals) agrees on that. And nearly everyone (with same above caveat) is ready to move beyond dirty, scary, nasty coal. Farewell, Reid Gardner, once and for all.

However, NV Energy's NVision plan doesn't stop there. It also calls for more natural gas power plants. So where will the natural gas come from? Does NV Energy want fracking in Nevada?

And how will this plan be paid for? As mentioned at the top, NV Energy's finances certainly are not hurting. Yet on KNPR earlier this week, the Bureau of Consumer Protection's Dan Jacobsen called out NV Energy's fuzzy math and revealed NVision likely means 9% (on top of inflation) higher electric rates for consumers while NV Energy further pads its profit margin.

So who really benefits from NVision? Why was SB 123 so quickly gutted and amended to morph into NVision? And who will stop this speeding gravy train to ask the tough questions on this?

(Hint: The rest of the Nevada Legislature is now on notice.)

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