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Atlantis Casino, Georgia Pacific-Gypsum approved to leave NV Energy

Updated February 15, 2019 - 5:39 pm

Two more entities have the power to leave NV Energy, potentially joining an exodus of companies from the utility.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and Georgia Pacific-Gypsum can now get energy supplied from a new provider following a Public Utilities Commission meeting Friday morning.

To follow through with their departure, both companies will have to pay NV Energy more than $1.5 million.

Price to find new power

To officially cut ties with NV Energy as a provider, the companies will have to pay an impact fee — a sum of money that the Public Utilities Commission and NV Energy seek because they claim companies that exit the utility place increased costs on remaining customers.

Atlantis, located in Reno, has an impact fee of nearly $2 million in nominal dollars — those not adjusted for inflation. A fee of about $1.6 million was assigned to Georgia-Pacific, located in North Las Vegas.

PUC staff believes a “significant impact fee is necessary to protect remaining customers from being assigned an undue amount of those sunk costs” from NV Energy’s forecasted load, according to documents.

NV Energy believes granting applications inherently puts upward pressure on electric prices as its investments are spread among fewer customers, according to documents filed with the PUC.

The PUC staff said in filings that NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is in a better position than its customers to have competitive energy prices, and departing companies don’t benefit remaining customers.

“The commission acknowledges that customer departures … may put upward pressure on rates,” it said in filings.

Still, the PUC said an impact fee prevents the departures from being “contrary to the public interest.”

Incentives to leave

Georgia-Pacific and Atlantis are two of the 10 companies that began efforts to leave the utility in 2018. So far this year, the Las Vegas Conventions and Visitors Authority and energy company Air Liquide have started the exiting process.

Six companies have officially left NV Energy.

Many of these companies are looking for cheaper power and more renewable resources, according to John Restrepo, the principal of Las Vegas-based RCG Economics.

Both Atlantis and Georgia-Pacific chose Tenaska Power Services Co. as their new provider, should they follow through and leave NV Energy.

Tenaska, a Texas-based power marketer, is one of the largest private energy companies in the U.S., with more than 32,000 megawatts of generating assets. According to the company’s website, the company is a “major player in the growing wind generation industry.

Jennifer Schuricht, spokeswoman for NV Energy, said the company believes it is “the best energy partner for its customers.”

“(We) will continue to work closely with Georgia-Pacific Gypsum and the Atlantis to offer solutions in order to keep them as fully bundled customers,” she said.

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

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