Guinn Center Report Dissects the History Behind Question 3
Supporters of the energy choice initiative believe an open and competitive market would be good for the state, but opponents disagree. A Guinn Center research report aims to find the best answer for Nevada voters.
Come November, registered voters will choose whether or not to make an amendment to the Nevada constitution. A yes vote on the Question 3 energy choice initiative would restructure Nevada’s energy market, allowing customers to buy electricity from multiple providers, as opposed to the current monopoly.
The Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities has released a report that uses history to help voters make an informed decision. The report is more than 100 pages in length, but there is also a 21 page information guide.
As the title suggests, inside it reveals the possibilities, prospects and pitfalls of restructuring Nevada’s energy market. This information guide looks to address two primary arguments.
Will energy choice affect the development of renewables such as rooftop solar? Will electricity rates go up or down?
"The one theme that resonates throughout the report is that there's a lot of uncertainty,” says Nancy Brune, Executive Director of the Quinn Center.
While the findings show that it's nearly impossible to predict what your electric bills would look like in an open market, the experiences of other states show us the benefits and challenges people might see.
One report using data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency found, "Between 2008 and 2015, half of the restructured states enjoyed price decreases, while just three non-restructured states experienced the same."
While a conflicting report also using EIA data indicates, "Texans living in deregulated areas would have saved nearly $25 billion in lower residential electricity bills from 2002 through 2014 had they paid the same average prices during that period as Texans living outside deregulation."
"In being more exposed to the wholesale market we're exposed to natural gas prices so should natural gas prices increase then we might expect customer’s electric rates to increase,” says Brune.
The same correlation could be expected when natural gas prices go down.
As for clean energy, nowhere does Question 3 require more solar, geothermal or wind energy to be put into the grid.
The report also finds that there's no direct correlation between the market model and increased renewables, but rather different types of policy.
“Question 6 for example which I know the Secretary of State approved might be a more effective policy instrument if voters care about renewables,” says Brune.
Again if question 3 passes, it would amend the Nevada constitution, forcing the legislature to restructure the market. If energy choice happens and Nevadans aren't happy with it, repeal could only come with a separate constitutional amendment.
For more information on the Guinn Center Report, click here.