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Rating the “Higer Rates” Claim by Energy Guru…The Firefighter!

One of the big questions about Question 3 –  the Energy Choice Initiative that would eliminate the power monopoly in Nevada and open the market to competition – I get quite often from readers is how passage would affect our electricity rates.

Now, if you listen to the sky-is-falling TV and radio commercials/propaganda being put out by the “No on 3” folks, you’d come to believe rates are going to go through your solar-paneled roof.  Indeed, one of their commercials features a firefighter declaring flat-out that “Question 3 would increase power rates in Nevada.”

And we’re supposed to believe him because, let’s face it, a rank-and-file union firefighter is, of course, an absolute authority and expert on electricity generation and energy markets.

Good grief.

Hey, here’s a RADICAL idea.  Why don’t we ask someone who, you know, actually IS an authority and expert on electricity generation and energy markets?

I know, I know.   Why listen to an expert when we have a guy wearing red suspenders and the union label on his blue t-shirt with a spiffy, bright red fire engine in the background?  But please…indulge me for a second.

Jon Wellinghoff is a graduate of the University of Reno and served as Nevada’s first Consumer Advocate and Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He was appointed to FERC by President Bush and appointed as Chairman by President Obama.

Mr. Wellinghoff is considered a leading national expert in energy policy and the author of an enhancement to Nevada’s original Renewable Portfolio Standard.  He has also served as legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, the Federal Trade Commission and the Nevada Public Utility Commission.

And here’s what he has to say about questions on whether power rates would be LOWER should Question 3 pass…

“Short answer – yes, energy choice lowers rates in states that implement it. Choice leads to competition among providers bidding for consumer attention, which in turn cuts prices and increases savings.

“The 14 states that have implemented energy choice have seen their rates fall against inflation over the past decade, and if Nevada follows suit this November, the average family is projected to save as much as $11.16 a month or more on their power bills.

“Consumers in states with energy choice have seen their rates fall over time, according to research done by the Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA). Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the RESA shows a decrease of 14 percent in electric rates in states with choice markets from 2008-2016 when adjusted for inflation.

“Meanwhile, monopoly states saw their rates rise above inflation during that same time.”

So there you have it.

But what the hell does this guy know, right?  Bring back the firefighter!

(Mr. Muth is president of and publisher of  He blogs at  His views are his own.)


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