$20 million credit likely headed to NV Energy customers

A $20 million credit could be coming to NV Energy customers if the Nevada Public Utilities Commission accepts a settlement agreement involving MidAmerican Energy Holdings, NV Energy, the Bureau for Consumer Protection and PUC regulatory operations staff.

The agreement, submitted Nov. 8 and reviewed Monday, was created to address concerns from the Bureau of Consumer Protection, PUC staff members and other parties concerning the proposed acquisition of NV Energy by MidAmerican.

PUC Chairman Alaina Burtenshaw said she would recommend the commission accept the agreement in a vote before Dec. 20, a deadline set by the settlement agreement. The $20 million credit is contingent on the PUC’s acceptance of the agreement before that date.

Among its 34 commitments, the settlement agreement states that neither MidAmerican nor NV Energy will charge customers for acquisition costs. Previously, the utility had planned to pass a charge of $1 billion onto ratepayers.

It also states that $20 million will be refunded to customers in Northern and Southern Nevada, averaging about $13 per Las Vegas Valley household. Customers will be credited within 30 days of the sale of NV Energy, which is expected to close in 2014.

During questioning, NV Energy and MidAmerican executives said jobs would remain in Nevada and customer satisfaction would be addressed.

NV Energy Chief Operating Officer Dilek Samil said the company had an internal goal of improving customer relations.

She said she has seen data going back five years that suggest customer satisfaction was lacking.

NV Energy headquarters and senior management will remain in Nevada, according to a settlement agreement confirmed by MidAmerican CEO William Fehrman.

Fehrman said MidAmerican has no plans to reduce staff, though his company will look for ways to cut costs and add support, as a normal course of business.

Ringfencing, or keeping NV Energy’s finances separate from MidAmerican’s, was also discussed.

Contact reporter Kristy Totten at ktotten@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3809. Follow kristy_tea on Twitter.