Guinn Center report on Energy Choice Initiative: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

power lines
Power lines near Hoover Dam. Wikimedia Commons photo

“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.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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