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July 29, 2015

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NV Energy wants $9.8 million surcharge to make up for conservation

CARSON CITY — Despite higher-than-expected summer revenue, NV Energy is seeking the OK for a $9.8 million surcharge to make up for revenue lost as the result of conservation measures taken by its customers.

The state Bureau of Consumer Protection is opposing the request before the state Public Utilities Commission.

Dan Jacobsen, technical staff manager for the bureau, said it is inappropriate and unreasonable for NV Energy to seek a surcharge, “particularly while customers are struggling to pay higher-than-normal summer electricity bills.”

It was hotter than normal this spring and summer, prompting customers to spend more to keep their air conditioners running.

A 2009 law allows utilities to raise rates to offset the loss of revenue due to conservations measures by customers. Utilities argued they have fixed operating costs to cover.

Jacobsen, in prefiled testimony to the PUC, said the power company has already made up for any lost sales from conservation efforts by the higher-than-expected revenues collected during the hot summer months through August.

But Patricia Franklin, NV Energy manager of revenue requirements, said the utilities commission rejected those same arguments by Jacobsen in a 2010 case.

“Once again, BCP (Bureau of Consumer Protection) is trying to link sales growth to lost revenue recovery. As the commission found 18 months ago, this is contrary to the statute and rejected the proposal,” Franklin said.

Stopping NV Energy from collecting the surcharge would be a disincentive for the company to promote energy efficiency programs, she said.

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