CEO’s Message — October 2020

No on Question 6

Headshot of Clay FitchPlease vote no on Question 6 when you cast your Nevada general election ballot.

Why? Question 6 suffers from many of the same flaws that plagued Question 3 two years ago:

  • Energy policy doesn’t belong in the Constitution.
  • It could take five or more years to make any changes to the amendment.
  • A restrictive mandate threatens reliability.
  • There is potential for higher costs for consumers.
  • Existing law already requires renewable energy.

Let’s examine these issues in detail.

First, Question 6 would amend the Nevada Constitution. The Constitution should guarantee the rights of the citizens and provide the basic framework of the government. Policy matters, such as the source of electricity, should be enacted through legislation where all points of view and real-world impacts can be considered.

Second, if problems develop as we begin to implement Question 6, it could take five years to make any changes. Anyone wanting to make a change would either have to gather enough signatures on a petition or get the legislature to put the proposal on the ballot.

It’s doubtful any problems will be discovered before the legislature adjourns next June, so it will probably have to wait until 2023. A change would then have to be approved by voters in 2024 and again in 2026 before it could take effect.

Third, Question 6 will require all “providers of electricity” to ensure 50% of the electricity they sell comes from renewable resources, but it doesn’t guarantee renewable resources will be available, or allow any room to maneuver if supplies fall short.

A similar mandate is creating considerable challenges in California, and spilling over into Nevada. Just a few weeks ago, extreme heat caused a massive demand for electricity. To avoid blackouts, regional grid operators begged Wells Rural Electric Co., and many other utilities, to reduce their need for electricity.

We passed that request on to you. Through your efforts, and those of other consumers across the West, a crisis was avoided. Question 6 could make that unusual event much more frequent.

Fourth, just as surely as night follows day, higher demand will eventually lead to higher prices.

Lastly, Question 6 is unnecessary. Senate Bill 358 of the 2019 Nevada Legislature already requires utilities to provide renewable energy. In contrast to the rigid mandate of Question 6, Senate Bill 358 allows utilities to adjust to changing conditions.

By participating in the legislative process, WREC demonstrated support for renewable energy but persuaded lawmakers to include protections for cooperative consumers like you. Those protections, and the ability of the legislature to make additional changes if needed, allowed WREC to support the bill.

WREC is committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable, and carbon-free electricity. Your board of directors made that decision decades ago. Question 6 would limit our ability to meet your changing needs.

Clay R. Fitch
Chief Executive Officer