Andy’s Newspaper column archive

What's up with Valley Electric?©

Way back in 1964, a group of Nye County residents recognized the need to bring in electric power as the county grew. There were meetings about how to do this. It eventually was decided to form a corporation to be known as Valley Electric Association, Inc. It was a consolidation of Amargosa Valley Cooperative, Inc and White Mountain Power Cooperative, Inc. The new Co-op was created under NRS 81.510.

The stated purpose was to  allow many options for the business to operate. Briefly stated they could acquire equipment, build electric generating facilities,  purchase electric power, build and operate transmission lines and  sell power. They could also sell and deal in electric appliances of all kinds including, but not limited to water and sewer disposal.

"To assist members and other customers to wire their premises and install electrical and plumbing appliances..".

The life of the corporation is fifty (50) years. That's it in a nut shell. Some of the questions as to what happens in 50 years are relevant now. That is in August, 2014, next year. In the past I asked the CEO, Tom Husted, what the Co-op has planned when the current corporation expires. He has in the past stated to me that it was not of any consequence. So I asked Tom, "Will it just be renewed in its current form?" I received a politicians answer and as of today the question remains unanswered. OK, Mr. Husted, what is your plan for August 2014. Will we still have a member owned Co-op or do you and the board of directors have other plans?

Now there is a board of directors who should have some thoughts on what will be done. Not a peep. Thry were elected to represent the members. Yet are they representing the members by not having open discussion about 2014.

There is also a large group of members known as Ambassadors. It is their position to tell us how great our utility is, how user friendly they are and the excellent job in bringing us low cost electric power. They were members invited to the inner circle, sort of,  invited to better understand the inner workings of the co-op and, as well informed members, promote the positive aspects of the utility to the public. If my sources are accurate there are no negatives that have ever been relayed to the public by the ambassadors.

Now if we are to accept that we are receiving the best low cost we can get, part of today's column is a look at other Co-ops.

One that I especially like is Garkane Energy in Richfield, Utah. They can be found at Their current rate is MONTHLY BILL: Base Rate  $17.00   First 1,000 kWh  $0.0720  Over 1,000 kWh  $0.0590. So when you exceed 1,000 Kw in any month your rate drops from 7 cents to 6 cents. It actually becomes cheaper to heat with electricity.

Another utility I looked at is Wheeler power in north eastern Nevada. They can be found at mwpower,net Monthly bill  $9.00 per meter per month    First 800KWH $0.0714 per kWh    Over 800 KWH $0.55 per KWH. So over 800 kilowatts per month you pay 5.5 cents.

I repeat an earlier statement from a previous news article, VEA will provide "An integrated resource plan for the Pahrump-based utility could include how the company would continue to provide reliable and low cost electric service to its customers." I trust the person making the statement means members. In case you have not examined our rates they are:  Basic Service Charge  $15.00  All hours are $0.10989 per kwh. Could we get any closer to 11 cents? The rate in 2003 was $0.07 kWh.

Right now we members are in the dark. I cannot relate what the ambassadors know, but I'm sure the board of directors are informed, as they should be. The VEA denied this newspaper, a member of VEA, a copy of the financial report.

As reported recently VEA is applying to the Western area Power Distribution for participation. The big question is, will this benefit the members with lower rates as a consumer? Will VEA continue to be member owned? What benefits will accrue to our members? Right now the answer, "You will have to wait to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy" just doesn't work for me.  I cannot tell you how comfortable this makes me feel. So Whassup Tom? Seems like secrets are becoming the norm around here.

Andrew Alberti Jr