NV Energy aims to lure back, keep customers amid exodus

After years of watching some of its largest customers drop off one by one, NV Energy is fighting back.

Twenty Nevada entities have taken steps to leave the utility for another energy provider since 2005, with various entities searching for lower costs and more renewable resources.

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 Public Utilities Commission. But some companies remain uninterested and worry that the deal isn’t as green as alternatives.

A ‘competitive’ option

Six companies have officially exited NV Energy since 2005. In 2018, 10 companies began making moves to leave the utility. So far this year, three entities — energy company Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas — have formally submitted documents to begin the process of departing.

companies that have left NV Energy

NV Energy’s proposed program, NV Energy Optional Pricing Program Rate, is “intended to stem the tide of departures,” said Rose McKinney-James, a former PUC commissioner.

The program would charge a fixed rate — replacing the current variable energy rate — that’s based on costs from renewable resources, which includes power from six solar projects that were approved in 2018.

The PUC is slated to hold a hearing June 4, after which it will determine whether to allow the program. The open period for enrollment began March 25, prior to its approval date with the PUC.

NV Energy’s goal is to provide a rate that “is competitive with market options available to such customers,” it said in PUC filings.

Initial interest

A statement from NV Energy said it has already heard customers express interest in this type of program. For example, the city of Las Vegas has expressed interest, and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Steve Hill has been tasked to look into negotiations with the utility.

Renewable energy is “important to us. It’s important to the community, and it’s important to our customers,” Hill told the Review-Journal.

But not all companies are interested in the new energy option.

MGM Resorts International said in a statement to the Review-Journal that it has not conducted a review of the new rate, and doesn’t consider it applicable to its major facilities.

Adam Kramer, executive vice president of strategy for Switch, said an analysis showed the new program’s cost would be “substantially higher” for the data center company, which left NV Energy in 2017.

At a PUC meeting on March 7, Shawn Elicegui, senior vice president of regulation and business planning for NV Energy, said “there is no impact or harm to non-participating customers.” NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht told the Review-Journal the program would not raise residential rates.

PUC Commissioner Ann Pongrancz said the commission will issue a procedural order with more questions regarding the impact on ratepayers.

“We are very interested in hearing from the company,” she said, adding that she wants to learn more about whether residential customers rates would change under this new program.

Kramer said Switch isn’t interested in the deal because it doesn’t include renewable energy credits that would allow customers to say they are 100 percent green.

“It’s not a green deal,” he said. “For Switch and other companies, they want renewable energy credits on behalf of the company, not on behalf of the utility.”

At the March 7 meeting, Pongrancz suggested NV Energy change the program’s original name from the NV GreenEnergy Rider 2.0, since the green component of the offering is optional.

‘Dollars and cents approach’

John Restrepo, principal of Las Vegas-based RCG Economics, expects eligible customers to take a “dollars and cents approach” to see if the new program compares to the cost of alternative providers.

According to PUC filings, the new program targets customers who are able to leave through NRS 704B — large commercial or industrial customers or governmental entities that have an annual load of one megawatt or more.

leaving with their money

Nevada law says these entities must use at least 8,760 megawatt hours of energy annually. NV Energy would have the same qualifications in the optional pricing program rate.

McKinney-James, who is also a member of MGM Resorts’ board, said companies will see this deal as a way to stabilize energy costs and avoid an impact fee — a sum the PUC and NV Energy seek because they claim companies that exit the utility place increased costs on remaining customers.

“It’s smart of the utility to craft something to address the needs of these customers,” she said.

MGM Resorts, which left NV Energy in 2016, paid $86.9 million in exit fees, and Caesars Entertainment Corp. was assigned $47.5 million in exit fees in 2018.

Schuricht said the pricing program rate will be available to customers who take fully bundled service, meaning companies that have already left through 704B would have to return to NV Energy to be considered eligible.

As it stands, the new program is not available to residential customers.

Schuricht said if the program is successful, NV Energy will explore ways to provide a similar program to smaller commercial and residential customers.

“NV Energy is already making renewable energy available to all customers and is working on options to allow customers that value additional energy from renewable sources to have that choice,” she said through email.

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

Business Videos
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing