Like a Dalmatian to a fire bell runs Mayor Allan Litman, outstretched arms to welcome South West Gas (SWGas) into Mesquite without a vote of the citizens. What a folly!
Some years ago an engineering/feasibility study was commissioned by Mesquite to give city leaders future direction for gas service in the community. Conclusion: for city pride, future low gas rates, and not be captive to a SWGas long term franchise, Mesquite should set up its own municipal gas operation, Mesquite City Gas.
Allowing SWGas through Mesquite’s front door for gas would be exactly like cutting ties with consumer owned Overton Power that offers wholesale rate electricity and jumping into bed with privately owned Nevada Power offering retail rate electricity. A very foolish move since Overton Power (OP) rates are among the lowest in Nevada.
It appears Mayor Litman likes paying taxes to a private gas utility like SWGas to say nothing of helping feed hungry distant SWGas shareholders and supporting life styles of company executives making high six figure salaries… all courtesy of Mesquite gas customers!
Apparently, Mayor Litman has neither the talent nor vision to pull together a team of Mesquite “pioneer blood” to set up Mesquite City Gas. Where is that “blood” that had the foresight to help organize Overton Power(electricity) instead of the easy rout of renting from a Nevada Power company? Mesquite continues to be blessed by that decision!
Invite SWGas into Mesquite and they will be there forever! (They will require a long term franchise from the city). Mesquite citizens will be renting gas service from a gas company operating under “cost plus” rules. By law, a private gas utility is compensated, not for what it produces, but for what it invests in…not for what it sells but for what it spends. And since the state and federal regulators guarantee the company a percentage return for every dollar invested, the more lines in streets coupled with equipment to maintain those lines, the faster revenue will increase to SWG at the expense of Mesquite Gas customers. And when Mesquite gas customers will have paid for SWGas lines in their streets guess who will own the lines? SWGas!
Alternatively, Mesquite City Gas would receive wholesale gas and avoid taxes on profits, plus keep revenues in the city instead of paying distant company shareholders and bloated CEOs. Mesquite City Gas would enjoy “tax exempt” revenue bond financing (usually less than mortgage bonds). Mesquite City Gas would continually “shop” for the lowest cost wholesale gas like Overton Power continually shops for the lowest cost wholesale electricity to pass on to their customer owners. Additionally, utility generated money can be earmarked for rate reduction, conservation incentives to Mesquite customers, expansion of gas facilities, provide “in lieu of” taxes to help pay costs of city government operation. What blessings to Mesquite City!
It’s my opinion that SWGas and Mayor Litman have an agenda. It’s wrong! I hereby challenge Mayor Litman to a public debate of the proposition Mesquite City Gas or SWGas? Mayor Litman, you name the time, date, and place in Mesquite. The editor has my contact information. I’ll be there. Hopefully, all potential Mesquite gas customers will attend.
Carl Leavitt Palmer, Past President
Carl Palmer and Associates
Public Utility Consulting
St. George, Utah