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Poll: Nevada Voters Favor Net Metering, Deregulation in Advance of November Ballot

August 5, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

A majority of Nevada voters say that they support ballot initiatives to restore favorable net metering rates for rooftop solar and to deregulate the state’s energy market, according to findings of a poll by an ABC News affiliate, KTNV-TV, released on August 2.

Conducted by Rasmussen Reports, the survey of 750 likely voters was intended to predict what will happen when Silver State voters cast their ballots in November.

According to Ballotpedia, the Solar Rate Restoration Referendum will appear as question number 5 on the November 8 voters’ ballot in Nevada as a veto referendum. A “yes” vote will count favorably toward retaining the section of Senate Bill 374, which established a fixed fee for solar customers that differed from the fixed fee for other ratepayers. A “no “vote will support the repeal of that section of the bill.

The referendum has been set in response to the widespread debate over a December 2015 change by state utility regulators that raised the fixed fee for solar customers over the following four years. At that time, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission also reduced the value of solar credits that could be earned by producing excess solar electricity.

In the July survey, a majority of voters said they would support a ballot referendum that would “decide whether the state should bring back net metering to allow better rates for rooftop solar customers.”

Question 5 on net metering garnered support from 59 percent of voters polled, with 16 percent opposed and 26 percent unsure.

In addition, voters “overwhelmingly: said they’d support a ballot initiative to “deregulate electric energy in Nevada and create an open market for consumers with a choice of utility service providers,” according to the news outlet.

Sixty-nine percent of voters said they’d support such a measure, with 11percent opposed and 20 percent unsure. All major demographic groups said they support Question 3, which would need to be approved again by voters in 2018 to take effect.

But, according to KTNV-TV, voters may not get a chance to weigh in on the referendum at all because, concurrently, Nevada’s Supreme Court is reviewing a legal challenge to the proposed ballot measure. Opponents of the measure say it doesn’t fit the definition of a referendum and should be reclassified as an initiative, which takes longer to approve. Stay tuned for new developments.

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