The Fernley Reporter
NV Energy on Jan. 12 formally requested that the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) reconsider its December 2016 decision in the Sierra Pacific Power Company general rate case. The company is required by Nevada law to file detailed cost information every three years so the PUCN may set the rates that northern Nevada customers will pay for electricity and gas service. The December 2016 PUCN order establishes customer rates for the three-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2017 ending Dec. 31, 2019.
In October 2016, NV Energy worked with a broad coalition of customers and intervenors in the rate case process to reach an agreement to lower annual electricity rates for residential and small general service customers by approximately $2.92 million annually, or a total of $8.77 million over the three-year period the current electricity rates are effective. Importantly, the agreement provided that these cost savings would be shared across a broad base of northern Nevada electric customers.
The December 2016 PUCN order directs NV Energy to reallocate this savings to future new solar net metering customers (1,250 if all residential). In its filing, the company argues that the December order takes the savings that were intended for a larger customer base and directs them to this small subset of future solar net metering customers.
The company’s filing also notes that the decision to apply the cost savings to this single class of private solar net metering customers is inconsistent with the October 2016 agreement reached with the Regulatory Operations Staff of the PUCN, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Northern Nevada Industrial Electric Users, Northern Nevada Utility Customers, Newmont Mining, a coalition of local governmental entities, Nevadans for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy and Vote Solar.
In its filing, NV Energy acknowledges the difficult decisions the PUCN faced in a very complex legal proceeding that was subject to significant evidence, testimony and diverging viewpoints. The company commended the PUCN for acknowledging in its order the following important findings:
- Net metering customers do not “go off the grid” and should be treated as a separate class of customers because they use the electric grid both to get and to deliver electricity to the grid.
- The establishment of a fair and equitable pricing structure is important to all Sierra Pacific electric customers, including those who make the decision to utilize private solar generation and those who do not.
- Credit for excess electricity energy that is delivered to the grid by private generation solar customers should be valued at a rate that is competitive with other solar options available to NV Energy. The PUCN establishes that competitive rate, in the short term, at 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
The PUCN has 40 days to grant or deny the request.