Sept 14, 2022

Rob Lauer Political Reporter

Last week, NV Energy sent out numerous power alerts asking folks to set their thermostats to 78 degrees and not charge their electric cars. Keep in mind, electric cars make up only 0.04% of all registered cars in Nevada today. But when I visited a local NV Energy office that same day, their office thermostat was set to 72 degrees.

The idea that utility companies should be highly regulated private monopolies seemed like a good idea until politicians started using them as their campaign piggy banks. NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, spent over $68 million in donations to Nevada politicians over the last ten years, including over $20,000 to Gov. Sisolak in the last two years. This may explain why NV Energy would be the main beneficiary of purposed Democrat mandates for electric cars and all electric home appliances.

This week, 360 News interviewed NV Energy’s Director of Corporate Communications and Integrated Marketing, Jennifer Schuricht

#1, I’m reaching out to you in response to your recent power alerts asking folks to set their thermostats to 78 degrees. On Wednesday, I visited one of your offices where the temperature was at 72 degrees.  Obviously, I want a comment about the temps you set your own facilities? Why isn’t NV Energy leading by example by setting their offices to 78 degrees while declaring an emergency alert?

Schuricht’s Response:

NV Energy took part in energy conservation during the recent heat wave. We set the thermostats to 80 degrees and shut off all non-essential lighting and other equipment in our facilities over the long Labor Day weekend and all other days during the heat wave between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

#2, How is it that after 100 years, NV Energy is not better prepared for the annual high summer temperatures in NV? What are you planning to do to prevent such a shortage next year?

Schuricht’s Response:

For the majority of the year, NV Energy meets customer energy needs through our owned generation and long-term power-purchase agreements. During the hottest times of the summer, we supplement our year-round resources with electricity purchased from other energy resources around the west. While we work to ensure we have enough energy to meet the forecasted demand of our customers every day, when extreme heat is experienced throughout the western U.S. region, energy resources across the west can become less available to all utilities.

The heat wave we experienced earlier this month was historic throughout the western U.S., with several cities setting all time high temperatures. While NV Energy is used to supplying energy in these types of temperatures, the extreme heat impacted the entire region. Nevada and its electric infrastructure was able to handle the energy event and avoid an energy emergency, unlike many of our surrounding states.

As we continue to see the effects of climate changes, the frequency of region-wide heat waves and wildfires – along with their effects on available energy in the west – will only continue to increase. We are developing a plan to advance Nevada’s energy independence, and will file this with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada in November. In addition, we look forward to working with legislators to ensure we have the policies in place that allow Nevada to become the energy leader in the west and take advantage of our plentiful solar resources to benefit our customers and our economy.

#3. A large number of your transmission lines are over 50 years old. What is your plan to upgrade it?

Schuricht’s Response:

NV Energy has some of the best reliability in the U.S. We maintain our electric system year-round and are working to make it stronger and more resilient through our natural disaster protection plan.  

With all the hype about Climate Change, we thought we would take an objective look at the temperatures here in Las Vegas over the past century. We found temperature records for the hottest day each year going back to 1931. And this year was not the hottest on record.

In fact, the hottest day of the year was set on July 26, 1931, at 118 degrees. But the bulk of the highest annual daily temperature average range was between 111 and 116, with a few temperatures below and a few above, with the highest bulk at 113.

In 1931, Las Vegas was virtually uninhabited except for a small number of folks. In 1931, gambling became legal and they started construction on the Hoover dam. The population spiked from around 2,000 people upto 5,165 that year. Today, well over 2.5 million people call Las Vegas home. And yet there were no record temperatures this year or last. If human development causes global warming, then Las Vegas should be example number one for global warming. But the highest daily temperature this year (so far) was 113, well within the normal range.

The Nevada legislature set up the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN).

According to their website

“The PUCN is a regulatory agency that ensures investor-owned utilities comply with laws enacted by the Nevada Legislature.

The PUCN’s basic regulatory duties, as defined by the Legislature (NRS 704.001), include:

  • To provide for fair and impartial regulation of public utilities.

  • To provide for the safe, economic, efficient, prudent and reliable operation and service of public utilities.

  • To balance the interests of customers and shareholders of public utilities by providing public utilities with the opportunity to earn a fair return on their investments while providing customers with just and reasonable rates.”

360 News spoke with the Public Information officer for the PUCN who had zero information or knowledge about the utility companies they regulate. He could not answer a single question, including whether the agency was investigating the recent   power alerts or what NV Energy is doing to prevent such alerts in the future. The PUCN is made up of political appointees with little to know industry experience.

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