Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- NV Energy made a hard, successful push for a major policy bill requiring the Public Utilities Commission to allow it to build transmission lines, with lawmakers passing it in the final minutes of the legislative session.
Energy experts say the cost of transmission lines could be up to $1 billion, which would be paid for by ratepayers. Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, who introduced the amendment, said ratepayers could be paid back as the state exports renewable energy to California.
Tacked onto Assembly Bill 416, the amendment was a model of quick action, introduced shortly before midnight in the Senate and passing overwhelmingly.
Some Republicans voted no, concerned about a geothermal provision and its impact on counties. The Assembly then agreed to the amendment shortly before its 1 a.m. deadline.
The effects on ratepayers were unclear Tuesday night, though NV Energy vice president Tony Sanchez noted that any rate case and approval would have to go through the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.