Gov. Guinn details Nevada energy conservation plan
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) – A statewide energy conservation plan that will still keep Nevada’s casino lights blazing was detailed Wednesday by Gov. Kenny Guinn.
Guinn said the plan is voluntary for now, but could be given teeth if the state experiences energy woes such as the rolling power blackouts hitting neighboring California.
The Republican governor and former utility executive said the conservation effort isn’t a new idea, but is needed because ”the focus we need to place on it has been lost somehow.”
The measures suggested in the plan range from the simple – lowering furnace settings, raising air conditioning settings, using low-watt light bulbs and turning off unnecessary lights and computers when not in use – to more complex suggestions such as energy audits on buildings and flexible work schedules to clear out offices during energy peaks.
Frank Siracusa, chief of the state Division of Emergency Management, called the plan ”a real good reference guide of information” that could help Nevada residents to save as much as 25 percent on power bills.
Asked about energy-saving mandates and penalties for noncompliance, Guinn said, ”I would hope we wouldn’t have to get there.” Another possibility would be a system of tiered rates, with heaviest power users paying more.
”I absolutely support the concept,” he said.
The governor also said Nevada casinos have a big incentive to use less energy because of rising power costs, and are participating in the conservation effort.
But he said resorts’ high-wattage glitter will continue because ”tourist people come here to see some lights.”
With the lights turned down, ”we’re not going to have the excitement for our tourism,” he added.
Nevada has delayed utility deregulation, after seeing California’s problems, and also has moved to increase its in-state power generation by simplifying power plant construction applications.
But Guinn said the conservation program is a necessary element to ”keep the lights turned on for our people.”
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.