Utility chief named

Former state assistant attorney general Ann Wilkinson has been appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval to chair the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, which could be an even more sensitive task than usual, depending on what voters do in November.

The general election ballot will contain Question 3, which would end utility monopolies but also end regulation of rates. The complex ballot measure has caused confusion among voters. Two billionaires—Sheldon Adelson and Warren Buffett—are pouring millions of dollars into the campaign. Adelson, as a casino owner, wants to drop NV Energy as his supplier. Buffett, as owner of NV Energy, wants to keep his monopoly.

Wilkinson will replace Joe Reynolds, who moved to the state higher education system to be general counsel. Wilkinson was previously counsel to a couple of municipalities. Her only utility experience was giving legal advice to the PUC, but she also has administrative experience as deputy director of the state Administration Department and deputy chief of state in the governor’s office. She also has previous regulatory experience as chair of the Nevada Transportation Authority.