Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 | 11:09 a.m.
CARSON CITY — NV Energy is taking on the federal government, alleging the U.S. Department of Energy owes it money for canceling a contract to buy electricity for the Nevada National Security Site.
The Las Vegas utility has supplied power to part of the site, formerly the Nevada Test Site, for some 50 years.
But the Energy Department in September canceled its contract with NV Energy, which filed two petitions this week with the state Public Utilities Commission.
NV Energy is asking the state to force the Energy Department to pay an exit fee. A spokesman for the utility called the Energy Department “a large customer” but would not reveal the amount sought from the federal agency.
Karl Walquist, senior media relations representative for NV Energy, said its policy is to not disclose how much power a customer uses.
The Energy Department, meanwhile, has signed a five-year contract with Valley Electric Association of Pahrump for $61.6 million to supply all power to the Nevada National Security Site. The federal agency says its power bill will drop by 1.4 percent a year under the new contract.
But by canceling the contract and not paying the exit fee, NV Energy says, remaining customers would be burdened “with the cost of the investments made” to serve the site.
The utility, in its petition to the PUC, said it made investments in transmission, distribution and generation capacity, as well as long-term commitments for the purchase of power to meet the needs of the site.