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A Break for NV Energy Ratepayers and
Other Goodies from the 2011 Legislature

by Knight Allen, NSC Director of Legislation
Published on  July 14, 2011 - reprinted with permission

  I admit I tend to judge any Legislative session more on what doesn't happen rather than what does. By that standard 2011 was pretty good.

The failure of NV Energy's AB416 which was a classic attempt to “socialize risk and privatize profit” died when Governor Sandoval vetoed it. The last hour (literally) manipulations to push the bill through were well reported by the media and probably had a hand in the Governor's veto. Some cynics have said the publicity was the only reason he vetoed it. I don't buy it. I read the veto message. It was clearly written by a man with a ton of experience in public utility oversight. He did an outstanding job of explaining the statutes, the principles and the PUC' s place in overseeing utility rates and showed how AB416 conflicted with the regulatory structure. The final passage of his veto message sums up the Governor's position very well and is worth repeating here. “This bill threatens not only to undermine the value of the resource plan approval process in maintaining reasonable electricity rates and prudent facilities approvals, but it will provide for increased rates to cover utility expenditures unrelated to the provision of electricity in this state.”

Another attempt to "socialize risk and privatize profits "namely the stadium deals, hit a brick wall in the person of Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick who took the exercise in corporate welfare apart piece by piece until there was nothing left. Kudos Ms. Kirkpatrick.

For the second session in a row the National Popular vote for President (SB344) failed. This bill which attempts to get around the Electoral College should really be called the National Bill to Kick the Small Population States out of the Presidential Election Process. Our electoral votes were cru-cial in 2008 (remember?) and will be again next year. Under the Popular Vote system if we voted the “wrong” way our choice would be irrelevant. Our electoral votes would go to whoever won New York, California, Illinois, Texas, et. al. The Electoral College is an integral part of our republican (small “r”) system that gives a real voice to the minority (that’sus) and we would be out of our minds to throw it away.

Something called the North American Electric Reliability Corporation which oversees the nations power grid is about to conduct an experiment to see if anyone “is using the grid to keep track of time”. How might this affect us? Well, the most interesting quote in the article (LVRJ 6/21/11) from Mr. Demetrios Matsakas, head of the Time Service Department at the U.S. Naval Observatory: “A lot of people are going to have things break and they’re not going to know why.”
   Good grief.