Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 | 8:21 p.m.
NV Energy appears to be about to lose its fight to be the direct source of electricity to Creech Air Force Base north of Las Vegas.
A proposed order has been prepared for the state Public Utilities Commission to consider Wednesday to dismiss the complaint filed by Nevada Power against the cooperative Valley Electric Association in the dispute over service to the base.
The federal government opened bidding to let a private company to take over the power delivery system to Creech. Valley Electric, which serves 17,000 customers in Nye, Clark and Esmeralda counties, won the contract to operate the switches, transformers and distribution lines.
NV Energy will still provide the electricity to the delivery system but Valley Electric will then send the power to the end user, the base. The federal government pays Valley Electric a monthly fee.
NV Energy complained that Valley Electric is a public utility and is infringing on the territory of the Las Vegas utility. It said that Valley Electric is providing electricity to a nonmember of the cooperative association.
Valley Electric maintained it is not a public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the PUC. The association is owned by its customers.
The suggested order says Valley Electric does not resell or meter the power and is not reimbursed by the amount of electricity that flows through the delivery system. It said there is no need at this time to require Valley Electric to get approval of the PUC.
As a cooperative, the PUC order says the company enjoys such things as discounted government backed financing and preferential treatment of tax liabilities that are not available to competitors.
The order said the Creech issue is outside its jurisdiction and it could be up to the state Department of Taxation, the Internal Revenue Service and other state and federal agencies to determine the status of the cooperative association.
Valley Electric also replaced NV Energy in supplying electricity to the Nevada National Security Site earlier this year.