Nevada governor creates electric deregulation committee - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Procurement, Industrial, Power Prices, Regulation, Utilities  -  February 20, 2017

Nevada governor announces deregulation committee

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has created a committee tasked with creating a framework for deregulating the state's electricity market. 

The move was expected after Nevada voters in November 2016 approved a ballot initiative calling on lawmakers to pursue amending the state constitution to open the electricity market and break up the monopoly of its utilities. Gov. Sandoval has appointed Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison to serve as Chairman of the Governor's Committee on Energy Choice.

The governor first announced the creation of the committee during his biennial State of the State address in January. His office said in a statement that Nevada voters in November supported a state policy that "electricity markets be open and competitive so that all electricity customers are afforded meaningful choice among different providers, and that economic and regulatory burdens be minimized in order to promote competition and choices in the electric energy market."

That measure, called the Energy Choice Initiative, was backed by data company Switch and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. alongside many other large energy users such as MGM Resorts International, Patagonia, Tesla Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It needs to be approved again by voters in 2018 before an amendment to the constitution can be made. 

The governor said the committee will include members of the Legislature, major customers, organized labor, renewable energy experts, senior citizens representatives and others who will be tasked with helping the state prepare for "the complicated changes that lay ahead" if Nevadans approve energy choice again in 2018. Gov. Sandoval said he will ask the committee to prepare a transition plan enabling the state to enter the new markets by 2023; the full committee is expected to be announced "in the near future," according to the governor's statement. 

"Stability in our energy market is crucial for all Nevadans," Gov. Sandoval said in announcing the appointment of Hutchison as chairman of his newly created committee. "A second passage of this Initiative will change the way Nevadans consume energy from flipping on hallway lights and ensuring power in our hospitals to illuminating the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip. By bringing together these stakeholders, we can properly prepare for what could be a major utility transformation. The Lieutenant Governor is the right person to navigate this complex discussion and I am confident in his ability to bring forward the best recommendations to secure the promise and potential of the Silver State's energy future."

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