Back to 1-16-2011 Expanded Column

Addendum to the 1-16-2011 Barbwire

CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? — NVE workers, retirees, their families, members and retirees of other unions, their families and some just plain friends of labor demonstrate in front of SPP/NVE's Ohm Place Operations Center in Reno on Nov. 19, 2009.

Executive summary


Hard Data: December Poll
Cross-tabs, weighted .pdf
Highlights, .pdf format
Windows 7 .docx Word

TO: IBEW 1245


The second round of Nevada poll research is complete – and the quantitative survey findings show overwhelming public support for a number of the statewide initiative options tested.

The telephone survey of 1,000 likely Nevada voters conducted in early December showed that 82% of respondents support a plan to form a citizen utility board to advocate for consumers before the NV Public Utilities Commission. Just 10% of respondents oppose this plan.

The survey also found strong support for two other proposals – a plan to require shareholder approval of top executive compensation and a plan to create a public utility agency for electricity and gas services similar to those that provide water in Reno and Las Vegas.

The proposal to require shareholder approval was supported by 63% of respondents, with 21% in opposition. The proposal to create a publicly owned utility was supported by 54% of respondents with just 18% opposed.

As you know, this telephone survey was conducted in tandem with an online survey. The online survey results mirror the findings of the telephone survey. In total, 846 Nevada residents responded to the online survey. 86% of these respondents indicated support for the citizen utility board, 74% for the shareholder approval of executive compensation and 65% for a publically owned utility.

In our first phase of survey research we found deep dissatisfaction of NV Energy among Nevada consumers. Our data indicate the company would not be a credible opponent to any of these plans. In this first phase of polling we found that 75% of respondents are very concerned that NV Energy customers pay the highest residential utility rates of any Mountain state.

We also found that 64% of respondents said they had a great deal of concern about NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira earning $4.5 million.

We are now in the process of launching Phase III of the survey research, a series of qualitative focus groups throughout the state to test voter support for these three measures.

These groups will be a chance to explore in depth voter anxiety about increasing rates, cuts in customer service and broken promises to both current employees and retirees. The in-depth focus groups will also seek to explore the reasons behind the strong support for these three potential initiatives.

To date our data indicate Nevada voters are so concerned with the corporate misconduct of NV Energy that they will embrace an initiative solution that gives consumers more protection from rising rates and diminishing service.

We will keep you updated as the research progresses.


THE NEXT NORMA RAE? — They're never too young to learn the right way to play the game. Young ladies of consequence make their sentiments known in front of SPP/NVE's Ohm Place Operations Center in Reno on Nov. 19, 2009.

Executive summary of the previous research

Hard Data: The OctoPoll
In .pdf format
In Windows 7 .docx Word
In Microsoft Word

TO: Interested parties
FROM: Amy Simon
Goodwin Simon Strategic Research
RE: Results of Nevada statewide registered voter survey

DATE: October 18, 2010


This memo summarizes key findings from a Nevada statewide telephone survey conducted October 8 – 10, 2010, among 400 registered voters. Interviews were conducted by trained professional interviewers using a registered voter list. The sample includes both cell phone and landline respondents.


The NV Energy company finds itself in a weak position for a public company, with almost as many respondents rating them negatively (44% unfavorable) as positively (46% favorable). Very few respondents are unable to rate them (11%), giving them little room to significantly improve their public standing without an enormous investment of resources into public communications - and likely having to change some of their more troubling corporate conduct as well.

Driving much of this unpopularity is a great deal of concern with NV Energy's corporate conduct. Fully three-quarters of respondents (75%) are concerned a great deal that NV Energy customers pay the highest residential utility rates in any Mountain state. Almost two-thirds (64%) are concerned a great deal that NV Energy's CEO Michael Yackira is making a record $4.5 million. In addition, more than half of respondents are troubled by the recent loss of services from NV Energy, with 54 percent saying they are concerned a great deal by the company's eliminating electric line repair crews in rural Nevada and 52 percent concerned that they have closed all but one customer service office in Nevada.

As respondents learn more about NV Energy's current record and corporate conduct, they become increasingly negative about the company, with more than seven in ten (72%) rating them unfavorably after hearing more information about the company's conduct.

These results should be concerning for any responsible corporation.


NV Energy Company has weak popularity ratings, with a 1:1 favorable to unfavorable ratio (46% favorable, 44% unfavorable ratings). In contrast, as an example, AT&T has stronger favorability ratings than NV Energy Company, with a favorable to unfavorable ratio of greater than 2:1. Over half (56%) of respondents have a favorable opinion of AT&T, while fewer than one-quarter (24%) have an unfavorable opinion of them.

Corporate executives at NV Energy have much higher unfavorable ratings than favorable (39% to 18%), with a more than 2:1 negative to positive ratings ratio (42% say they cannot rate them). NV Energy CEO, Michael Yackira’s negative to positive ratings ratio is even worse, with 3.5:1 negative to positive ratings (22% unfavorable, just 6% favorable). Over seven in ten (72%) cannot rate him, yet those who do are overwhelmingly negative.

After hearing information about NV Energy, respondents are again asked their opinion about NV Energy and its executives. For all three, their unfavorable ratings increase dramatically, to over 70 percent for each (72% NV Energy, 72% corporate executives, 73% Yackira), and favorable ratings decrease significantly. Just seven percent say they cannot rate NV Energy in the final popularity question, while just two in ten cannot rate corporate executives at NV Energy (22%) or its CEO, Michael Yackira (23%).

Recent Changes at NV Energy

Respondents show considerable concern about each of six recent changes at NV Energy tested in the survey. The top concern for respondents, with three-quarters (75%) saying it concerns them a great deal, is that NV Energy’s customers now pay the highest residential rates in any mountain state. Following this, 64 percent say they are concerned a great deal when they hear that NV Energy’s CEO is making a record $4.5 million.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of respondents say they are concerned a great deal when they hear NV Energy’s management announced they are cutting medical benefits for 600 of their retired workers, requiring that retirees pay 100% of the cost of higher medical premiums.

Over half also say they are concerned a great deal when they hear NV Energy eliminated electric line crews in rural Nevada, which will mean a slower response time for major incidents like power outages (54%) or that they have closed all but one customer service office in Nevada (52%).

Just under half (48%) express this level of concern when they hear that NV Energy has cut over 100 good-paying jobs across the state and cut electric line crews in rural Nevada.

The data show customers deeply concerned about the company’s recent conduct, with the greatest concern about high prices and the high pay of CEO Michael Yackira. These findings mirror a recent customer satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates that ranked NV Energy as the worst energy company in the West based on customer satisfaction.

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