Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 | 4:50 p.m.
CARSON CITY — The state Public Utilities Commission on Thursday ordered NV Energy to suspend rebates to consumers who purchase energy efficient light bulbs and to retailers for stocking energy efficient electronics such as TVs.
In a 2-1 vote, the commission said the company had failed to show the value of these and three other rebate programs in conserving energy.
The commission also approved a request by the utility to collect $10 million from ratepayers to cover revenue lost to conservation programs.
In doing so, the commission rejected the request of the Nevada Consumer Affairs Bureau to disallow the $10 million on grounds that NV Energy collected more than estimated from customers because of the extreme summer heat.
In all the commission nixed the utility’s plans to offer more than $8 million in various rebate programs to reduce energy use.
At the same time it increased from a recommended $26.5 million to $36 million the amount the company would return in rebates for a high efficiency air conditioning program. It provides incentives to homeowners owners and builders to install and properly maintain high efficiency air conditioners and to increase the efficiency of less effective units.
Also Thursday, the commission unanimously said NV Energy can spend $3.5 million over three years to study building a plant at or near existing facilities to meet expected population growth by 2018. None of the money can be used toward construction.
The commission rejected a request for a $5 million study to scope out other locations for future plants.
Also rejected was NV Energy’s proposal to spend $1.4 million to gather permits to build a plant using solar or other renewable energy resources. The commission said the utility lacks experience in building renewable energy projects and can re-apply when it has a fully developed application.