Panel to draft bill on energy savings

CARSON CITY — A legislative committee Friday agreed to draft a bill for the 2015 session to look at energy-savings opportunities for utility customers, but the panel declined to move forward with the specific recommendations of a public policy group.

The Legislative Committee on Energy rejected the specifics of the proposal by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project to draft a bill requiring a 2 percent gross energy savings through energy efficiency efforts by 2018.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirk­patrick, D-North Las Vegas, a member of the panel, said energy-efficiency efforts are important, but she rejected the call for the goals specified by SWEEP.

Kirkpatrick and Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, chairman of the panel, also criticized the group for inundating them with form-letter emails from their constituents over the past few weeks in support of the bill draft proposal.

“I’ve been down this road with this particular group before,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m not doing the 2 percent. I’d rather say I’m happy to look at this issue on a broader basis.”

Supporting such a specific target in a bill draft could give the group and her constituents false hope, she said.

Atkinson said an energy-efficiency bill may look far different from what was proposed by SWEEP.

The group said this week that Nevada utility customers could save hundreds of millions of dollars on their electric bills if the Nevada Legislature adopted energy savings standards as 26 other states have done.

The group cited two reports from NV Energy that show the utility’s customers in 2013 saved 61 percent less from the utility’s efficiency programs in 2013 than they did in 2009.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter @seanw801.