“We cannot make a conclusive determination as to whether restructuring, all else equal, contributes to rate increases or rate decreases.”
That’s the main takeaway from a Guinn Center report released Thursday on the impact of Question 3, also called the Energy Choice Initiative, if passed by voters in November.
The nonprofit, bipartisan Nevada think tank’s 111-page technical study examined the experience in other states that have restructured or deregulated the power industry, finding that “research suggests that a restructured electricity market may lead to either increases or decreases in electric rates” and “some customers benefit from energy choice, while others encounter adverse effects.”
Backers of Question 3 rushed out a statement Thursday declaring victory, mostly by citing hypothetical scenarios that the report’s author had identified in a separate venue months ago. Opponents of Question 3 seized on a line that stated: “Under energy choice, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada would no longer be able to intervene to protect consumers against higher rates.”
While the impact of Question 3 remains open to debate, one thing that is certain is that both sides in the debate, exceedingly well-funded by corporate backers, will spend tens of millions of dollars on a ballot initiative that an overwhelming majority of Nevada voters will never understand.
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