Berkshire Hathaway’s utility, NV Energy, has reached a settlement agreement with the Regulatory Operations Staff of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Northern Nevada Industrial Electric Users, Northern Nevada Utility Customers, a coalition of local governmental entities, Nevadans for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy and Vote Solar, to lower prices for customers in northern Nevada starting January 1, 2017.
The agreement follows the June 2016 filing of NV Energy’s required triennial general rate case and is subject to Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) approval. The amount of money needed from customers to fund the company’s core electric operations will be reduced by $2.93 million or 0.44 percent, and by $2.40 million or 2.16 percent for its natural gas operations.
“I sincerely appreciate the willingness of all parties to reach a compromise that allows us to reduce prices for our customers and would like to highlight efforts of the Bureau of Consumer Protection and PUCN Regulatory Operations Staff,” said Paul Caudill, president and CEO of NV Energy. “This result is also due to the hard work of my colleagues at NV Energy, who have embraced the challenge of improving operations and our focus on customers, all while reducing our costs to serve.”
PUCN is expected to vote on the agreement later in the year. If the agreement is accepted, new general rates will become effective on January 1, 2017 and remain in place for three years.
NV Energy’s northern operations revenue requirement will be lower at the end of 2019 than they were in 2008, providing more than a decade of stability and predictability.
“As we negotiated the agreement, it became clear to us that our goal – that all customers be treated fairly and to obtain certainty – aligned with the goals of the Regulatory Operations Staff, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and the other parties,” said Shawn Elicegui, senior vice president of regulatory and strategic planning for NV Energy. “This settlement provides certainty that our customers will enjoy fair and reasonable rates for the foreseeable future.”
Residential customers’ monthly bills are on average lower today than they were in 2008. A report issued last month from the Energy Information Administration in the U.S. Department of Energy showed that Nevada now is also the lowest of all the Intermountain West states for residential and commercial customers.
“As we look toward our mandated rate filing for southern Nevada customers in 2017, we are targeting a very similar result,” said Caudill.
The PUCN will still review separately two other areas of the original general rate case filing. These include the appropriate value of excess energy credits provided to private rooftop solar customers and approval of new optional time of use rates. A decision on the general rate case proceeding in its entirety is expected in December.
© 2016 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.