45°F
weather icon Clear

Utility administrator: Energy initiative could cost city millions

If the Nevada Energy Choice Initiative passes in the November election, it could cost Boulder City more than $1 million in lost savings each year as well as generating higher electric rates.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Boulder City’s Electric Utility Administrator Rory Dwyer told council that the city could lose more than $1.6 million each year in potential energy contracts if the initiative passes.

The energy choice initiative, or Question 3 on the ballot, was designed to prohibit electricity monopolies. If it passes, NV Energy would lose its monopoly in the state and the Nevada Constitution would be amended to give energy customers the right to choose their energy provider and generate their own resale. The Nevada legislature would provide those laws by July 1, 2023.

In his research, Dwyer found some potential impacts for Boulder City. One of the largest was that potential loss of contracts. He said the city could lose them because its right to receive hydro energy from the dam would be decided by future legislatures and courts.

If it can’t receive that energy, it would lose $1.63 million in savings annually, based on 2019 fiscal year rates. Additionally, whether it would be compensated for that loss would be determined by future legislators and courts.

Dwyer also said a common expectation is that the ECI would decrease residential electric bills. But, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s final draft report on the initiative, monthly electric bills are likely to increase for the first 10 years.

Comparison made

Additionally, Dwyer compared utility charges with fees in Texas, which implemented a similar energy initiative. Taking into account what Boulder City charges for electricity and the best deal in Texas, the average monthly bill for residents would increase 67 percent, he said.

The rates could also change due to the wholesale price of natural gas.

Dwyer also said that final draft report from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada showed concerns that the ECI will have a “considerable negative financial impact” to rural communities.

“We need to be very careful about what we do here,” said Councilman Kiernan McManus. “We’re a completely different situation than NV Energy.”

McManus said he wanted to hear the facts about the ECI before a pro and con presentation scheduled for the Aug. 28 council meeting.

“My takeaway is that a vote yes on Question 3 is a vote to buy a bag of maybes,” said Councilman Warren Harhay.

Additionally, he and Councilwoman Peggy Leavitt said a yes vote would task the legislature with writing energy policy.

Mayor Rod Woodbury said he had propaganda for both sides of the question, but he had not heard much about how it could help or hurt Boulder City.

“It was great to hear that,” he said.

No action required

Dwyer’s presentation was intended as an educational resource for voters and did not require any action by council.

“To me it seems as though there is very little potential for us to benefit greatly from it and a lot of great potential for us to be quite hurt by it,” said James Adams about the ECI.

Resident Matt Di Teresa said he enjoyed the presentation but he thought it was negative and one-sided.

“A quick Google search of deregulation will show that there are lots of positives for deregulation in states all across the country, so before anybody votes, get on the internet and look and see how deregulation has worked in other parts of the country,” he said.

Dwyer’s presentation is available on the city’s website at http://bcnv.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=58.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council also:

■ Approved PAR Electrical Contractors Inc. bid of $3,783,768 for the 69kV transmission loop project. This bid was for overhead power lines rather than underground ones. PAR’s bid for the underground line was for $5,215,383. Council unanimously approved the bid but also requested that the cost for a partial underground option be presented at the Aug. 28 council meeting.

■ Approved a contract with Epic Aviation LLC to provide fuel service at the Boulder City Municipal Airport.

■ Approved a 3 percent salary increase for part-time employees.

■ Approved a staff directive to seek appraisals for two different properties, one was for a lot line adjustment at 395 Avenue I for approximately 7,000 square feet, and the other was a lot line adjustment at 115 Casa Montana Court for approximately 7,800 square feet.

■ Approved appointing William Wilson the Parks and Recreation Commission.

■ Approved re-appointing Alan Goya and appointed Charles Hauntz to the Historic Preservation Committee.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
New council seated

Mayor Joe Hardy took his oath of office along with new council members Steve Walton and Cokie Booth during a special City Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 29, night.

Holiday activities fill December calendar

December’s arrival can only mean one thing in Boulder City: It’s time to celebrate.

Police investigate Thanksgiving shooting

Police responded to a call of shots fired at 10:48 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, in the 1000 block of Boulder City Parkway, said Lisa LaPlante, communications manager.

Past year reflects positively on future

It’s my second holiday season in Boulder City since I became a resident in August 2021. As the end of this year approaches, I want to reflect on what I’ve appreciated experiencing, working toward and accomplishing. There are many to thank for our focus and progress in 2022, including the City Council, city employees, and residents’ feedback.

Outgoing council members honored

City Council honored departing members and unanimously approved or voted to postpone all actions during their meeting Tuesday, Nov. 22, night.

Election results certified

Results of November’s election were made official by a unanimous vote during a special City Council meeting Friday, Nov. 18, morning, with Cokie Booth being elected to council by 133 votes over incumbent James Howard Adams.

Business Beat: Credit union receives advocacy award

Always keeping the needs of its members in mind, Boulder Dam Credit Union was recently recognized for its work advocating for the financial needs of those who belong to the financial institution.

Unofficial results: Booth to join council

Cokie Booth has unofficially won the race for a seat on City Council.

Bureau unveils plans to replace lawn

Boulder City residents were able to get a look at Bureau of Reclamation’s plans to replace the lawn above Wilbur Square Park with desert landscaping during an open house at its administration building Nov. 10.

Man gets up to six years for fatal crash

A man who admitted driving more than 130 mph prior to a 2019 crash that killed 58-year-old Randy Reiner listened to emotional statements from Reiner family members before a judge sentenced him to up to six years in state prison Tuesday, Nov. 15.