Panaca’s town board met on Monday, August 13.
The meeting started out with a series of public comments, beginning with a report from the Hill family. The Hills reserved the park this past week, but, due to inclement weather, they were unable to use it, and they requested a refund. This was approved, and immediately afterward, there was a request from the LDS church for an invoice for their own park reservation, since they require them for their financial records.
Once the agenda was approved and bills were paid, the main subjects of the night were brought before the board: Questions 3 and 6.
Dave Luttrell, of the Lincoln County Power District, gave a presentation that brought to light a few facts about the amendments in question.
The main thing that Luttrell emphasized was that this amendment to the state’s constitution will affect Lincoln County immediately and also in the long-term. Question 3 claims that it will deregulate the power monopoly held by a select few companies around the state, and, by deregulating, the market will then become more competitive, driving process down.
Luttrell mentioned that Nevada will be the first state to amend its constitution on behalf of these changes, but that the decision has much more to it than the one-paragraph suggestion on the ballot suggests.
According to Luttrell, the main push for these changes to the Nevada constitution is being backed by large companies that, while they already have the option to move to other power providers, will still have to pay millions of dollars in exit fees. If Question 3 passes, however, these companies will no longer have to pay that fee since the entire state will be able to select its power provider.
According to Luttrell’s presentation, problems the constitutional amendment might cause include a division between service providers and their customers, a rate hike, unethical business practices, and fake pricing. Referring to the potential rate changes, Chairman Reynolds, of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), once asked during a meeting: “Is there anyone…who would want to go on record and give the assurance that this petition will lower rates for residential families?” According to Luttrell, there was no response, not even when the question was raised several times at PUCN meetings.
Luttrell then addressed Question 6. According to his presentation, Question 6 will require 50 percent of the power used in Nevada to come from a renewable energy source, and since Hoover Dam isn’t considered a renewable source of energy, it will cut the county and the entire state off from half of the energy it receives from one of the largest and oldest power sources in the nation.
Since this change still requires a passing vote in this election, as well as the next, Luttrell noted that it’s not an immediate concern, but that it should be something kept in mind when considering Question 3, as that decision will set the standard for what decisions Nevada will ultimately make overall.
While there’s plenty of hope that this change will be overcome, Luttrell said that the key to keeping Lincoln County safe is a hard “no” from rural counties, so that even if the law passes, the rural communities will have made their position very well known.