Valley Electric supports the Energy Choice Initiative, which will be on the November ballot as Question 3. Our support begins with our member-consumers, who overwhelmingly voted yes on the initiative in 2016 when the same question was put before voters. As a member-owned cooperative, we believe that the desires of our members should shape our outlook.
The Energy Choice initiative asks the question: “Shall Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require the Legislature to provide by law for the establishment of an open, competitive retail electric energy market that prohibits the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity?”
Why Valley Electric supports the Energy Choice Initiative:
Choice and the Utility of the Future. Technology has changed the way we live, and this change is only accelerating. While customers now have choice in cellphone providers, internet providers, and others, the electric utility industry has avoided change and kept customers captive for many years. However, all over the country, and all over the world, the electric utility industry is finally being forced to change as technology makes it easy for energy consumers to select where and how they wish to acquire energy. We see Energy Choice as an inevitable evolution driven by technology and consumer choice. Consumers want choices, and today’s technology makes more choices possible. This is the same spirit that drove VEA to bring the choice for the highest-quality Broadband to our service territory.
New Opportunities. Energy choice will bring new opportunities to our members and all Nevadans. In energy choice markets, customers can participate in the energy market, whether they are choosing renewables, choosing electric plans that fit their lifestyles, or installing rooftop or community solar and selling electricity into the market in real time. VEA sees the electric Utility of the Future as the conductor of the orchestra who keeps a reliable, stable grid operation, while enabling our members to save money, make money, choose their power source, and unlock new technologies and opportunities that we can no more envision today, than smartphones could have been envisioned back in the monopoly days of Ma Bell.
Economic opportunities. It is estimated that Energy Choice will bring as many as 34,000 new jobs to Nevada. By opening our energy markets, Nevada will enjoy economic growth and job creation. A tremendous amount of this new growth could be located in VEA’s service territory. Many of the best locations for the development of solar, geothermal, and even wind generation in the state are located within VEA’s service territory. In addition, because of the high-speed communications that now exist within the VEA footprint, there are many opportunities for job growth related to a dynamic, new tech-and-energy economy right in our communities.
The Cooperative Business Model. A cooperative is structured differently than investor-owned utilities. We are member owned. Each day as we go about our business, there are two things that are foremost in our mind: affordability and reliability. Regardless of the outcome of the vote on Question 3, our mission as an electric cooperative will not change. Our members will still enjoy affordable rates and reliable electric service. An investor-owned utility is concerned about return for the investors. A cooperative does not have the same need to serve the interests of investors.
These are a few of the reasons why we support the Energy Choice Initiative. Thank you for your interest in Valley Electric Association.