- NV Energy is remaining neutral on a Nevada ballot measure that could significantly alter the state's energy landscape, but has also issued a set of "key principles" to promote discussion and to lay out what the utility sees as necessary aspects of any policy.
- This November voters will weigh in on an Energy Choice Initiative that would amend the state constitution to give consumers the ability to choose their electricity supplier.
- Among the principles outlined by NV Energy, the utility stressed that market restructuring "must not result in unrealized investment or stranded assets," and said participants must compete on a level playing field.
NV Energy isn't staking out a position on the November ballot initiative, but this week issued a two-page document aimed at stoking discussion while also laying out what the utility sees as non-negotiable, The eight points are mostly uncontroversial—reliable, fairly-priced clean energy—but others hint at the complexity of the changes that may lay ahead.
"When the effort to place the initiative petition on the ballot was announced in February, I committed to work in a constructive fashion with customers and stakeholders to do what is right for the state of Nevada," NV Energy CEO Paul Caudill said in a statement. "While we remain neutral on the November ballot initiative, that commitment is consistent with both NV Energy's core principles and the one I made in October 2015 in testimony filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada."
The document released by the utility, "Nevada's Energy Future: Key Principles, "can be used "as a guide as we continue to work directly with a number of key stakeholders and leaders on this issue," Caudill said.
Among the points, NV Energy said any market changes must not leave it with unrecoverable investments.
"Investment decisions have been made by NV Energy and its suppliers based on the regulatory compact," the utility said. "The key tenets of the regulatory compact must be honored, and investment-backed expectations must be recognized and respected."
The utility also stressed that market participants "should compete on a level playing field and be subjected to the same requirements. Opening up Nevada’s energy market to competitive choice, in whatever form it takes, will make it critical to ensure that rules are in place to treat all providers equitably."
If the Energy Choice Initiative passes in the November election, consumers would be free to shop for electricity suppliers. Large consumers, such as some casino operators in Las Vegas, are pressing for that option. Another ballot choice pushed forth by solar advocates was rejected when a Supreme Court judge upheld a lower court ruling calling the measure unconstitutional.
One of the biggest backers of the initiative is casino operator Las Vegas Sands, which supports electricity choice. In May, rival casino operator MGM Grand said it would pay almost $87 million to exit its NV Energy’s utility service in order to seek cleaner and cheaper suppliers of energy.