What did GOP Governor Brian Sandoval, whose top staffers are also lobbyists for the state's NV Energy company, know and when did he know it? And how much did he personally have to do with his appointees on the state's Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ripping off solar customers by raising rates on them, while lowering the amount of money rooftop solar owners are paid for selling back unused, clean power to the grid?
Lauren Randall, manager of public policy for Sunrun, which describes itself as the largest dedicated residential solar company in the U.S., and a spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice the rooftop solar industry's advocacy group, joins us to explain what just happened in NV and how it has resulted in Sunrun, Solar City and several other rooftop solar companies being forced to shut down entirely in the state. That, after Sandoval had previously offered incentives to encourage private consumers to invest in clean, solar energy.
"It's absolutely outrageous," Randall tells me on today's program. "The easiest way to understand this is it's a 'bait and switch'. Nevada passed incentives to attract residents to go solar, and then after baiting homeowners with incentives, the state switched the rules, penalizing solar homeowners to deliver basically additional profit to NV Energy."
She says there is a "tremendous amount of backlash from both sides of the aisle on this," after "the rules were changed in the middle of the game for over 16,000 customers who went solar to save money on their electricity bills and to move the country away from fossil fuels and on toward more clean energy." During the interview, she details how her company is now suing the state to force Sandoval to release communications between himself and his staffers, the PUC and NV Energy, as the industry hopes to roll back the devastating new rules which were announced just before Christmas and took effect on the first of the year.
Sandoval's commission, Randall explains, "just presented the most anti-business, anti-solar rules that we've seen, really anywhere in the country. It's been just catastrophic for families in Nevada. What we're seeing now is upwards of a thousand job losses from this." Randall is hopeful that public outrage may force the PUC to overturn their new rules that have otherwise just killed the solar industry in sunny Nevada. She charges that the effort is a "coordinated campaign" among fossil fuel-based utility companies in a number of states (and could be coming to a state near you!) and asks folks to sign up to help in the fight.
Also on today's busy show: The Koch Brothers empire was built on Nazi money as well as communist Russian money, Martin O'Malley could decide whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders wins Iowa, and Desi Doyen joins us for Green News Report coverage of Obama's final State of the Union address…
You can find Brad’s previous editions here.
And tune in to radio Sputnik one hour a day, five days a week.