As a Nevada resident served by NV Energy, I am glad to see the utility back off its plan to raise its fees by more than 30 percent.
In addition to hurting rooftop solar customers, this proposal would have led to bill increases for many who are already stretched thin, including low income families and seniors on fixed incomes.
It also would have affected customers who are saving money and electricity through efficiency. According to a Consumer Reports analysis, when utilities increase fixed rates, customers who use less energy get hit with the biggest jump in their electric bills.
NV Energy heard the outcry from conservation and community groups, but most important customers — including the more than 1,000 Nevadans who signed a petition denouncing the fee increase. As a result, the utility has suggested that the proposed fee increase be indefinitely deferred.
With this welcome news, the utility is coming into line with public opinion and the actions of leaders like Gov. Brian Sandoval and the state’s Legislature who want to advance clean energy in the state. NV Energy’s CEO discussed just last month that solar energy had never been cheaper and vowed to increase investments in job-creating clean energy to meet consumer demand. We’re glad to hear NV Energy talking about the benefits of renewables, and look forward to hearing the details of when and how the utility will get us there.
Despite this new stance from the utility, we still need the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to reject this rate proposal for it to be truly dead.
The commission makeup has completely changed over the last year or so, and the panel has already shown support for clean energy and respect for the will of the people. It scheduled additional time for public comment during a consumer session Wednesday.
At that meeting, concerned residents, clean-energy supporters and community organizations will ask the commissioners to reject this rate increase once and for all. Together, we can ensure that Nevadans have fair electric rates and an opportunity to access the financial benefits of moving to a clean-energy economy.
Demi Falcon, Nevada Conservation League community organizer and UNLV student