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Drew Las Vegas looking to leave NV Energy

Drew Las Vegas won’t open for another three years, but it’s already looking into leaving NV Energy.

Two Blackbirds Hospitality Management, operator for the under-construction Drew Las Vegas, submitted an application with the Public Utilities Commission on April 22, asking for permission to use an alternative energy provider on the property.

The 67-story hotel-casino that was formerly the Fontainebleau is slated to open April 1, 2022, according to the PUC filing. The resort will include 3,780 rooms, as well as retail, nightlife and more than 550,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

According to PUC filings, Drew Las Vegas has yet to take electric service aside from construction power. Because Two Blackbirds notified NV Energy that it was planning to use an alternative provider on the property, it is requesting a zero-dollar impact fee — a sum the PUC and NV Energy seek because they claim companies that exit the utility place increased costs on remaining customers.

If approved, Two Blackbirds said, the property will use Tenaska Power Services Co. as its provider.

Tenaska Power Services, an affiliate of Omaha, Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska, is an energy management services provider. It already works with a number of local companies, including Caesars Entertainment Corp., and others have expressed interest in switching to the provider.

According to Tenaska Power Services’ annual report, filed with the PUC last month, it went from selling about 211 million kilowatt hours of electricity to Nevada retail customers in 2016 to nearly 1.5 billion in 2018.

Drew Las Vegas joins a growing list of companies that have left or are trying to leave NV Energy to obtain cheaper power or choose different energy sources, such as solar power. Six companies have officially exited the utility, starting with Barrick Gold Corp. in 2005.

NV Energy spent $63 million last year to defeat ballot Question 3, which would have created an open energy market. Since voters rejected Question 3 in November’s election, NV Energy has announced plans for $100 million in rate cuts.

Additionally, NV Energy is hoping to roll out a new rate option for government entities and large, commercial customers that’s both cheaper and solar-based, according to documents filed with the PUC.

NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht said NV Energy believes it is the best energy partner for its customers and “will continue to work hard to earn the Drew Las Vegas’ business.”

According to a Tenaska Power Services spokesperson, customers engage with the company to “optimize their power resources in diverse and changing market conditions.”

A spokeswoman for Drew Las Vegas declined to comment.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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