Monday, Feb. 5, 2001 | 11:19 a.m.
Gov. Kenny Guinn said today he is asking Nevadans to begin thinking about conserving energy to help the state deal with the effects of the California power crisis.
"It's not something that we have to do today, but I want to be prepared by June or July when the weather turns warm in California and Nevada," Guinn told the Sun in an interview from Carson City.
The governor was to air his concerns at a morning news conference at the state capital.
Guinn said all citizens, local and state governments and members of the business community, including casinos on the Strip, are being asked to participate in the voluntary conservation efforts.
Those efforts will include turning off lights at certain times and restricting the use of air conditioning during the summer months, the governor said.
"We'll try to do it on a voluntary basis, but if not, we'll have some enforcement," Guinn said.
Guinn explained that it will be especially important for the high energy users, such as casinos and auto dealers, to consider conserving.
The governor said he also intends to implement an "incremental pricing" plan in which those who use more energy will have to pay higher prices for it.
And Guinn will push to speed up the development of several power plants in Nevada to help reduce rising power rates.
The energy crisis, Guinn said, is likely to be with us over the next two years, and the state needs to be ready to meet the challenge.
The governor's action comes after receiving a gloomy forecast about the unfolding events in California at a summit of Western governors in Portland, Ore., on Friday.
"This is worrisome to all of us because the prices (of energy) keep going up," Guinn said.
The energy crisis could become a double-edged sword to Nevada, affecting the state's booming tourism industry, as well, Guinn said.
Guinn said he fears that if Californians are forced to continue spending more of their hard-earned dollars on rising power costs, they'll have less money available to visit Nevada.
"They won't be able to spend their discretionary income on trips to our state," Guinn said.
Guinn said he expects all Nevadans will contribute their fair share to the conservation efforts in the months that lie ahead.
"When they see the position we could be in, everybody will want to work with us," he said.