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YES OR NO? Nevada Question 3 debate heats up

Posted: 3:25 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 21:57:01-04

It may be the most controversial and expensive showdown in Nevada state history this November as both sides of Question 3 pour millions of dollars into the fight over your vote about energy.

The so called "energy choice" initiative is set to go before votes again in November and if passed it would have a resounding effect on the future of Nevada's power system.

By now, you have probably viewed the television advertisements that are touting reasons to vote for and against the Nevada constitution changer.

Those in support of Question 3 say there are 3 big takeaways if passed:

  • The initiative abolishes power monopolies and allows other power companies to do business in Nevada
  • Additional energy options means lower energy prices because of increased competition and innovation
  • The initiative means potentially thousands of new energy jobs.

Bradley Mayer, a spokesperson for Yes on 3, says the ballot initiative could reduce residential power bills, citing an independent study provided to Governor Brian Sandoval's work group on the issue.

READ THE GOVERNOR'S COMMITTEE ON ENERGY CHOICE FINAL REPORT

"It actually showed there's about $1.1 billion in savings for Nevadans day 1 if they pass energy choice, which equates to about $11.16 per month on your power bill," explained Mayer.

READ US ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION STUDY ON ENERGY PRICES

But the No on 3  campaign argues the plan is too risky and costly. They argue NV Energy has protections in place that would go away if the plan passes. 

"We have one of the most affordable and reliable electricity systems in the nation. Nevada's average electricity rates are already 17% below the national average. In fact, in deregulated states electricity rates are actually 30% higher than Nevada's rates," says No on 3 spokesperson Tracy Skenandore.

  • Nevada has lower energy rates than the 14 states that currently have a de-regulated market
  • It would cost billions to change Nevada's energy market, and rates would go up                                                                                
  • It would change the state's constitution, making it difficult to repeal if problems arise.

Opponents also point to California as an example, where the market was de-regulated in the 90s.  Rates went up and the state saw "brownouts," where service would go in and out.

No on 3 also says environmental groups, business groups, and law enforcement have all come out against the plan. Law enforcement groups are concerned about less reliable service becoming a safety concern.

READ: GUINN CENTER STUDY REPORT ON RESTRUCTURING NEVADA'S ENERGY MARKET

And above all, Nevada would be only the state to de-regulate by amending the constitution, which some argue leaves too many question marks. "It's risky because it would lock that into our State Constitution so when things go wrong it would take a minimum of 4 years to unravel it and undo the damage because it would be locked into the Constitution," Skenandore says.

The vote will be held on Nov. 6.