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Nevada's Question 3 examined

(KOLO)
Published: Sep. 21, 2016 at 1:16 PM PDT
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You may be old enough to remember when deregulation of telephone service got underway. These days you get to choose who provides not only cell phone service, but internet and even a landline into your home.

Typically you'll look for the best price, and service packages that fit your needs. Question 3 aims to do the same thing, only instead of telephone, consumers could choose who would provide electric energy to their homes.

“Referencing the telecommunications industry is a great reference point here. We think that by opening the electricity market, you are going to see a similar level of dynamism in that market. You will see new product and service offering electricity product and service offerings. That will change the way people live,” says Lucas Foletta with Nevadans for Affordable Clean Energy Choices.

Question 3 asks the voter if he wants to change the Nevada Constitution to establish an open and competitive retail energy market that prohibits the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity.

If Question 3 passes, it means Nevada residents could choose an electric retailer to provide energy to a home or even a business.

That energy could come from sun, wind, geo-thermal or other source.

The energy would come through a gird system already provided by NV Energy.

Proponents of Question 3 says consumers will see lower energy bills coming from greener sources.

“We think we will create job, lower rates, and see more renewable energy,” says Foletta.

The Legislature will have two sessions to establish just how Question 3 will be implemented--presumably through the Public Utilities Commission, which will also be overseeing these independent energy companies doing business in Nevada.

Those opposed to the bill are concerned it will take jobs away from local utility workers, and could in the long run cost consumers more--especially when and if the energy market goes into an unpredictable and volatile time.

They say while there are a lot of promises from proponents, there is no evidence deregulation provides better service or innovation.

Because this measure changes the state's constitution, it will be need to be approved in 2016 and 2018.

If approved twice by voters, the Legislature has five years, meaning two sessions to set up a system to handle an open electrical energy market throughout the state. That means you won’t see anything get underway until 2023.