The word “obscene” is usually reserved for controversial works of art and unconventional forms of expression. But at least one Gardnerville resident is using it describe her skyrocketing energy bill.
She’s not the only one disturbed by rate increases and reports that another one is in the works. While residents aren’t all using the word “obscene,” they are voicing similar fears: They’re already struggling to pay their bills. They can’t afford more increases. They don’t know what they’ll do.
There is no easy answer, but there are many tough questions. What will happen to people who can’t afford a rate increase? Are Nevada power supplies safe from a grab by California, which has never been shy about appropriating the resources it outgrows? Will a fight over power supplies scare new companies away and stifle growth, damaging Nevada’s economy? Will a shudder in California’s economy ripple into Nevada?
Nevada’s legislators will be convening in just over a week, and electric deregulation will be on their agenda. As events in California have demonstrated, deregulation can have serious unintended consequences.
Until a clear plan for providing a reliable supply of energy at a stable price is devised, lawmakers should leave deregulation alone. In the meantime, some answers about how to afford those obscene bills would be welcome – and worth burning the midnight oil over.