Utility regulators faulted

Renowned author and war correspondent Jacques Leslie has denounced the Nevada Public Utilities Commission for failing to move past traditional utility practices. It’s the role of regulators, he wrote, to build the “grid of the future [in which] energy costs will decrease and utilities will become, instead of climate change enablers, part of the solution to the problem.”

Leslie, two-time Pulitzer nominee who wrote the book Deep Water/The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment, wrote in an essay on the New York Times opposite-editorial page that base motives have influenced the PUC:

“All three commission members were appointed or reappointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, whose two election campaigns have received a total of $20,000, the maximum allowed donation under Nevada law, from NV Energy, the Berkshire Hathaway-owned utility that is a major beneficiary of the rate changes. Two of [Gov.] Sandoval’s closest informal advisers, Pete Ernaut and Gregory W. Ferraro, are NV Energy lobbyists. The American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafts model bills for right-wing state legislators and receives financial support from fossil fuel interests, has campaigned for rates like those the commission adopted, and, according to Greenpeace, NV Energy was at one time an ALEC member.”

The Nevada Legislature, too, was once an ALEC member.