Alamo Power met as a board on March 21 to mainly discuss the impact of legislation and bills being discussed. Back in November, Nevada voted on Question 3 to amend the Nevada Constitution to “require the Legislature to make it possible for an open, competitive retail electric energy market that prevents monopolies and exclusive franchises for generating electricity?”
This change allows an open market for energy by July 1, 2023. The legislature must include reducing costs for customers, protect against service disconnections and unfair practices and prevent monopolies and exclusive franchises for generating electricity. The law passed by the Legislature can’t limit a person or entity’s right to sell, trade or otherwise dispose of electricity. This has to be approved in two consecutive general elections before taking action.
This ballot question passed 72.36 percent in all of Nevada and in Lincoln County by 54.69 percent. This outcome was mentioned in Governor Sandoval’s State of the State Address where he wants to pass an executive order to create a governor’s committee on energy choice to prepare and oversee this complicated shift in power if approved again.
The Nevada Rural Electric Association (NREA) is trying to approach this possible new legislation by drafting an amendment to exclude rural utilities from this new change, because they say rural electric providers already meet the definition of “choice.”
Ken Maxwell, the General Manager of Alamo Power explained to the board that several states have passed a similar energy choice legislation and showed examples of how this has been implemented. In all cases, the retail sales of total megawatt hours (MWH) have been driven by the industrial market. A lot of the markets have chosen to treat their power lines currently in place like literal toll roads for other power companies. An example was given from Texas in the Dallas area where most of the energy choices it shows that a certain percentage of what is paid by the customer for their power goes directly towards the company that is hosting the power lines to get your power to your residence.
The logistics of making this new legislation possible for the residents of Nevada and in particular Lincoln County involves a lot of variables. Maxwell would like to get ahead of this and try to come up with an approach of being a full service electric utility or become more of an electric distribution system operator. If the legislation passes again in a second consecutive general election, and if the rural areas are not excluded from this new legislation, then a customer can choose from different options for their energy source, but it still has to travel through the current companies’ lines. These are all logistics and factors that need to be looked into further if this legislation indeed passes yet again in the next election.
Other legislation being discussed is Senate Bill 127, which proposes to give the county commissioners the ability to appoint board members for towns. An amendment is in the works to exclude utility districts.
The language of the proposed legislation can be found at https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/79th2017/Reports/.
Also, Assembly Bill 206 talks about how currently the utility companies in Nevada have to have twenty-five percent of their portfolio consist of renewable energy. Currently, special districts are exempt from this and it includes Alamo Power. By 2045, all utilities in the state will be required to have eighty percent of their portfolio be renewable energy through either solar or wind energy, not Hydro Power. The following is suggested in part of the bill:
“The Legislature finds and declares that it is the policy of this State to:
1. Encourage and accelerate the development of new renewable energy projects for the economic, health and environmental benefits provided to the people of this State; and
2. Become a leading producer and consumer of clean and renewable energy, with a goal of achieving by 2040 an amount of renewable energy production equal to at least 80 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by providers of electric service in this State.
For calendar years 2015 through [2019,] 2017, inclusive, not less than 20 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by the provider to its retail customers in this State during that calendar year.”
Maxwell also reported that the reroute of highway crossing tap at the car wash and state highway yard was completed as well as replacing a few poles in Hiko. Hiko and Richardville areas are now on a separate circuit. The north substation second circuit upgrade is almost complete. There are also plans for addressing the highway crossing at the Schofield’s residence along with helping in wiring the scoreboard for the Pahranagat Valley High School baseball field. They will also continue replacing suspension insulators that are failing. Robert Park also completed his commercial drivers license (CDL) certification.