Question 3: Nevadans to vote on energy regulation

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Question 3 asks voters whether to amend the Nevada Constitution to give people the ability to choose whom they buy their power from. If the measure passes, it will offer an alternative to buying electricity beyond NV Energy.

Political ads have circulated recently, with political figures and even celebrities voicing their stances on the issue.

Jonathan Scott, one of the stars of the show "Property Brothers," says he believes it should pass. Scott owns several homes in Nevada.

"There is no situation in which a monopoly provides the best situation for the consumer, and unfortunately in Nevada we have no choice and there's a monopoly situation on utility, and that's preventing a lot of green companies from coming in and offering more products. And of course the more products the better of price we have," Scott says.

The Reno Fire Fighters Association has an opposing view and says it is against passage because it could have a negative impact on public safety.

"Currently, I call one number; I call NV Energy and they come out and take care of all the power issues to each individual house," says Tom Dunn of the Reno Fire Fighters Association. "So with a deregulated market and each individual business having different suppliers, I may have to call five, ten, fifteen numbers to take care of a problem at a house." This means people on oxygen or who rely on home medical devices could be affected when it comes to reliability and response time from power providers.

Scott says, however, that even with passage, NV Energy would still own the grid and respond to calls.

"So nothing changes on the service side, the only thing that changes is how your power is being produced," Scott says.

Dunn disagrees.

"I don't necessarily think that's true and it hasn't been written anywhere and it's certainly not in the constitution now," Dunn says.

If the measure passes, the Nevada State Legislature will be required to pass laws by July 2023 establishing an 'open, competitive retail energy market.' Dunn says the timeline just isn't feasible.

"We would be looking at a lot of legal issues moving forward trying to get laws passed and positive regulation, and I'm not sure that's something that is going to be doable in that time frame," Dunn says.

Fred Lokken is a political science professor at TMCC, and says this is a confusing issue for voters, especially with recent political ads.

"They both seem to make sense in their ads; they both seem to make statistical claims and it makes it very hard," Lokken says. He believes most ads in support of the ballot measure are coming from out of state, while those who are a 'No on 3' are locals. He says this is a hot-button issue because it will be a constitutional change, something very difficult to reverse.

"Once in, hard to get out; you'd have to go through a similar process, going through elections or the legislature making it very cumbersome to remove if we decided it were a bad idea," Lokken says.

Election day is Tuesday, November 6.