Buoyed by public outcry over the recent power outages, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board of Directors took a substantial step on Wednesday to secure local control of our region’s electrical distribution system and better protect against catastrophic fire risks.
NID has heard the community express growing concerns about the reliability of service provided by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The utility has activated widespread and prolonged Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) over the past few months to protect against weather conditions that might create a heightened fire risk.
The danger of wildfire risk cannot be understated, yet the extended power outages have had damaging impacts. From closing schools and shuttering businesses to creating health risks for local health providers and their patients, our community has been greatly affected by the shutoffs.
On Wednesday, NID’s Board of Directors approved starting negotiations with PG&E that could eventually lead to the purchase of the embattled power provider’s assets and operations in the region. The Board directed the General Manager to begin the process, including submitting a non-binding notice of intent to PG&E; working with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) on district reorganization; and reaching out to local governments, inquiring about their interest in the governance, administration and risk sharing via a joint powers agreement.
The approval for negotiations is just the beginning. Yet, NID’s potential acquisition of the bankrupt power company’s infrastructure and power service operations would put local focus on capital improvements to the infrastructure throughout the region.
“NID is looking at our options and is taking a proactive approach to bring local management and control of our power infrastructure,” Scherzinger said. “It’s very early in the process, but we are encouraged and excited about the support from the community.”
“We are well aware that this pursuit is a complex undertaking. We are cautiously optimistic, and emboldened to explore the opportunity to secure energy reliability and establish community resiliency for our region,” Scherzinger said.
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