This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Governor Vetoes AB391, Draws Praise from Valley Electric Association
Published on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 (4:39 p.m.)PAHRUMP, Nev. (June 7, 2013) – Valley Electric Association, Inc. (VEA), a member-owned electric cooperative serving more than 45,000 consumers in southwestern Nevada, commended Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval Friday for his veto of Assembly Bill 391 (AB391), a measure that would have imposed costly, duplicative regulations on the nonprofit utility and raised electric rates for thousands of Nevadans, including many residents on fixed incomes, homeowners, businesses, schools and other valuable institutions.
“Governor Sandoval and the Republicans deserve commendation for clearly understanding how Valley Electric Association is creating jobs for Nevada workers,” said Thomas H. Husted, CEO of Valley Electric Association. “They understand that Valley Electric Association is bringing millions of dollars of new revenue into Nevada, working to develop and export Nevada-based renewable energy to other markets, and enhancing the overall economic development of our state. We greatly appreciate the governor’s insight and leadership in vetoing this piece of legislation.”
The bill could have subjected a cooperative association to full regulation by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) if the organization offered any energy services outside of the geographic area for which it held a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
In his veto message, Sandoval stated:
“A cooperative electric association is an entity run for and by its members. Cooperative electric associations are largely exempt from PUCN jurisdiction because it is presumed these entities will make decisions for the benefit of their members. Section 12(3) of Assembly Bill 391 would expand the scope of the PUCN’s jurisdiction over cooperative electric associations. Adding additional PUCN regulation over an entity that is owned by its members and serves only its members is unnecessary.”
Valley Electric Association could have been impacted as a result of the contract it won through a competitive bidding process with the Department of Defense to provide electric distribution services to Creech Air Force Base. While the base is outside of VEA’s service area, federal military installations have sovereignty above state law and regulation. VEA does not serve as the electric utility provider for the base. The cooperative only owns, operates and maintains the base’s electric distribution infrastructure.
In addition to the agreement with Creech Air Force Base, Valley Electric Association recently won a federal contract to serve as the electric utility provider for the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Test Site. The two recent federal contracts were designed to save taxpayers money.
About Valley Electric Association
Valley Electric Association Inc. (VEA) is a member-owned nonprofit electric utility headquartered in Pahrump, Nev. While VEA started as a small rural electric utility in 1965, the company now provides service to more than 45,000 customers within a vast 6,800-square-mile service area located primarily along the California-Nevada border, with the majority in Nevada. VEA’s service area starts in Sandy Valley, southwest of Las Vegas, and extends north for more than 250 miles to Fish Lake Valley. For more information about VEA, please visit www.vea.coop.