NV Energy part of group challenging solar ballot measure

Wed, Feb 24, 2016 (10:34 a.m.)

NV Energy is one of the groups behind a legal effort to disqualify a proposed referendum, backed by the solar industry, that would restore a prior rate structure for rooftop solar customers. A spokesperson for the utility confirmed NV Energy’s involvement in challenging the measure, which was first reported by Politico.

Last week, lawyers for a newly formed political action committee filed a lawsuit contesting the validity of the proposed ballot measure. The referendum, as currently written, would remove the legal basis for the much-criticized Public Utilities Commission ruling that increased utility bills for solar customers over the next 12 years. The challenge to it, filed in Carson City, argues that the measure does not meet the standards of a referendum and should be classified as an initiative.

NV Energy is part of the coalition backing the lawsuit through a PAC called the Citizens for Solar and Energy Fairness.

The ballot measure is backed by SolarCity and a coalition of local rooftop solar firms that have organized under the Bring Back Solar Alliance and the No Solar Tax PAC. An organizer for the Bring Back Solar Alliance dismissed the effort as a legal technicality, framing it as a maneuver to delay the process for getting the measure certified for the November ballot and gathering signatures.

Over the past week, the Bring Back Solar Alliance has been actively pushing the referendum. It is spending $250,000 on a TV ad and sent hundreds of volunteers to Nevada caucus sites.

The referendum would effectively undo a decision by utility regulators that raised a fixed fee for solar customers and slashed the value of credits they can earn for generating excess electricity. NV Energy generally supported the move, saying it eliminated a cost shift to other ratepayers.

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