While the Sun Still Shines, Weigh in Governor Sandoval

by Alexei Laushkin

Governor Sandoval (R-NV) has a strong record of responsible stewardship and the care for God’s creation, but on the recent PUC decision to cut payments to solar energy home owners, who themselves are generating energy, he has remained silent citing the propriety of influencing an ‘independent’ commission.

Conservatives like myself are tired of policy makers favoring industry over individuals and small businesses. In Nevada, EEN has over 10,000 supporters and a large network of churches, and one thing you’ll definitely see here Sunday to Sunday is a frustration with businesses and government getting in the way of people trying to make a living in this state.

The PUC has members who were appointed by Governor Sandoval so it’s incredible to me that a Governor who is a self-proclaimed ‘champion’ of solar energy and of ‘consumers’ and ‘individual liberty’ has no view on what should happen to consumer rates. There are a number of ways Governor Sandoval could weigh in with the PUC, he doesn’t have to weigh in on the specifics, but even a statement that says please consider the consumer and homeowners who made financial decisions on their solar power based on relatively stable rates, would be appreciated.

God gave Nevada an abundance of sun to use and yet Nevada lags well behind many others on the amount of solar and renewable energy that’s used to power our homes. As much as that should be corrected, it’s even more outrageous that home owners who are looking to taking advantage of this God given resource are being price gouged by utilities looking to stifle any competition. This is crony capitalism at its worst. NV Energy is using their influence in government and among policy makers to stifle innovation. It’s a David and Goliath battle playing itself out, where the Goliath of NV Energy is using their strength to take the Davids out of the market.

There are many reasons to go solar, and evangelicals in particular will point out the impact of energy generation on human life in the form of air pollution and other toxins as a key reason for consumers and policy makers to think about clean energy, but whatever the reasons home owners who have installed solar energy on their own homes used, it’s really under handed for NV Energy to see consumer choice as worthy of crushing as soon as they possibly can.

The PUC’s decision will be litigated in court, but in the meantime our network is calling on Governor Sandoval to say a little more than he’s already said.

Alexei Laushkin is the Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network. EEN has over 10,000 supporters in Nevada and 800,000 nationwide.

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