LETTERS: Rate hike would hamper solar energy

To the editor:

As reported on a recent Nevada Public Utilities Commission meeting, it appears that NV Energy is looking for a way to raise rates on homes utilizing solar power (“Solar backers fight rate change,” Aug. 21 Review-Journal). The term “bean counter” comes to mind when one reads the article.

Let’s think big. First: global warming. Solar homes allow NV Energy to use clean excess energy that those homes produce. The more solar homes we have, the less coal-fired electricity NV Energy needs to use, and the less it has to spend on installing solar farms.

Second, brownouts: These are especially important on hot summer days. NV Energy has incentive programs encouraging residents to use less power from 1 to 7 p.m. Moreover, folks with smart meters can agree to let NV Energy install thermostats allowing the utility to raise a home’s temperature on hot days to help avoid brownouts. The more solar homes, the less brownouts become a problem, because those homes produce almost enough kilowatt-hours to cover their own use during those sunny times.

Third: competitiveness. NRG, a major Texas utility company, is now in the business of installing solar systems. It also operates a network of electric-car charging stations. NRG wants to evolve beyond its traditional generation-and-distribution model, even if it cannibalizes existing businesses. This is a win-win-win-win situation. If NV Energy installs and leases such systems: residents will have solar power, which will be cleaner and may cost somewhat less; there will be more jobs for our workers; NV Energy would not have to worry about the death spiral since it will have continuing income from solar systems it installs; and our Earth will be rid of much of the carbon dioxide spewed out by fossil-fuel plants.

Solar homes are good for the environment and good for business. Why should the PUC and NV Energy want to discourage them by raising rates when such homes are contributing to society and helping NV Energy?



Solar flare-up

To the editor:

They’re at it again. The meeting to consider creating a separate rate class for NV Energy customers who utilize rooftop solar panels is picking up steam, while getting ready to pick our pockets (“Solar backers fight rate change,” Aug. 21 Review-Journal). NV Energy official Laura Walsh supports creating such a separate class, while saying the effect of it is unknown at this time. That sounds a lot like Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s Affordable Care Act logic: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Want to bet we find out later it costs us more money?

Nevada Public Utilities Commission chief David Noble actually tried to sell us on the idea that creating a separate class might result in lower rates. Lower rates? A lot of us may have born at night, but not last night. Since when did anything having to do with NV Energy result in lower rates?

Finally, to add insult to injury (and other insults), Mr. Noble asks why the utility would have an incentive to “pile on” costs to net metering customers. Anybody else want to answer that one? Sometimes, they’re just too easy.



Questionable column

To the editor:

Can you really take anything seriously in John L. Smith’s Aug. 20 column? (“Without Reid in his corner, Obama’s presidency is likely over.”) Especially after this comment from Mr. Smith: “Obama is only slightly more popular than Ebola”?

Depending on which poll you trust, President Barack Obama’s approval rating ranges around 40 percent. The fact that Sen. Harry Reid’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment gives this column even less credibility.



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