Monday, June 24, 2024

Plug Into The Truth About Question 3

November 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Highlights

Tracy Skenandore examines the facts behind a risky experiment with the affordable energy Nevadans depend upon.

There is a constitutional amendment on this November’s statewide ballot that would raise our electricity rates, eliminate consumer protections, and lock a risky experiment into our state constitution. The ballot measure, known as Question 3, would force Nevada to dismantle its existing regulated electricity system — one of the most reliable and affordable in the nation — and replace it with a new, unknown system established by the legislature and the courts.

The reality is we do not know what we are voting on with Question 3. The extremely vague wording of the ballot measure does not provide any details or instructions on how Nevada’s new electricity system would be set up or function. It would be left to state politicians and the courts to determine.

Question 3 would make Nevada the first and only state to deregulate its electricity system through a constitutional amendment, locking this risky experiment into Nevada’s Constitution. When things go wrong, it would take at least four years and multiple legislative sessions to repeal from our state constitution.

Because Question 3 contains ambiguous and contradictory language, it would spark significant legal challenges and court battles over its implementation. This uncertainty would slow investments into Nevada’s energy infrastructure — hurting economic development and jeopardizing thousands of good-paying jobs.

Many states — including Nevada in the late 1990s — tried unsuccessfully to deregulate their electricity systems. In those states that attempted deregulation, we’ve seen significantly higher electricity prices, less reliable service, rolling blackouts, spikes in customer complaints, and predatory marketing scams that target seniors and consumers on low and fixed incomes.

Question 3 would cost Nevada consumers billions in higher rates, higher taxes, and cause the loss of thousands of good-paying jobs. According to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), dismantling our existing electricity system would cost consumers at least $4 billion. That’s because the state’s major energy provider, NV Energy, would be forced to divest its generating facilities and power plants. Nevada ratepayers would remain liable for any financial losses incurred for these stranded costs.

The PUCN also found that implementation of Question 3 would result in upwards of $100 million in new start-up costs, and more than $45 million in new annual operating and maintenance costs — money that would come directly out of the pockets of residential customers and small businesses.

Today, Nevada’s average rates are already lower than all 14 states with deregulated electricity. In fact, in deregulated states average residential electricity rates are 30% higher than Nevada’s. According the PUCN, Nevadans’ average monthly electric bills would likely increase for at least the first 10 years after Question 3 passed.

If the risks and costs of Question 3 aren’t enough, Question 3 would also damage Nevada’s renewable energy sector and would eliminate Nevada’s current rooftop solar program. Both the PUCN and the Guinn Center found there are no guarantees that rooftop solar customers would continue to receive favorable net-metering rates for electricity returned to the grid under Question 3.

Question 3 would cancel an unprecedented plan to double renewable energy production in Nevada in the next five years. Question 3 would shut down six new solar projects that would generate 1001 megawatts of renewable energy. That’s enough clean energy to power 600,000 Nevada homes.

There are many reasons why it’s been nearly 20 years since any state has taken the risk of implementing a system like the one Question 3 proposes. We are urging all Nevadans to look carefully into the facts and vote NO on Question 3.

Skenandore is with Coalition to Defeat Question 3. For more informationm visit

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