Friday, March 22, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Regarding the story “Commissioner: Energy programs are tapping out NV Energy customers”:
It seems to me that state legislators have a much more firm grasp on the costs that ratepayers endure from NV Energy than the Public Utilities Commission has.
Yes, the utility requires ratepayers to cover money spent on efficiency programs, some renewable programs and some subsidies for people in dire need. However, scrapping these programs is short-term, narrow-focused thinking at its worst.
Efficiency programs incur one-time costs. Renewable programs release all of us from air pollution and global warming. Taking care of the neediest of our neighbors is something that is usually held up as the best of human behavior, something that we all want to participate in as far as we are able.
Efficiency programs are particularly important. The long-term benefits are huge for individual customers because weatherizing and insulating measures continue to save them money every month, far into the future. Those customers also benefit from being more comfortable in their homes, with better heating and air conditioning performance, at lower costs. Additionally, all ratepayers benefit when the utility is not forced to build more power plants and transmission lines because we have managed to conserve our energy requirements. There is a real trade-off between efficiency and new infrastructure.
It also makes me wonder who is tapping out whom, when NV Energy reported record-breaking profits this past year.
It’s time for Commissioner David Noble and the Public Utilities Commission to take care of ratepayers just like our elected leaders are aiming to do in Carson City.
The author is the energy chair of the Toiyabe chapter of the Sierra Club.