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Residential customers could get a break on summer electric bills

Residential customers of NV Energy could see a slight drop in their monthly electric bills during the hot summer months if the Public Utilities Commission approves a set of energy rate increases and decreases.

The monthly bill of an average Southern Nevada single-family residential customer would fall by $9, or 2.87 percent from the rates currently in effect, if both rate requests are approved. Multi-family residential customers in Southern Nevada would save about $5 a month, while ratepayers in Northern Nevada would see slightly larger decreases.

The overall effect for all Southern Nevada customers would be a 3.2 percent decrease while the overall decrease for Northern Nevada customers would be 9.64 percent. However, even with the decrease, electric bills will be higher this summer than last summer because of prior rate adjustments.

NV Energy filed for a rate hike on May 19 that would have increased the average monthly bill by an average of 2.5 percent to 14.72 percent, depending on where you live. However, on Wednesday the utility also filed a rate decrease, fulfilling a promise made about two weeks ago to ease the burden of high energy bills by cutting rates for the summer by 5 to 14 percent.

“We are optimistic that it will be approved, however if it is not, customers will pay the quarterly energy adjustments filed on May 19, beginning in July,” Katie Nannini, an NV Energy spokeswoman, said

Both rate requests would take effect July 1 if approved by the PUC and would cover the months of July, August and September. The PUC has yet to rule on either request.

The PUC is actively reviewing the quarterly rate increase, according to Peter Kostes, the communications director for the commission. He said the PUC has no comment on when it could issue an order on the proposed quarterly rate adjustment.

These proposed adjustments to the summer rates are meant to ease customer’s bills and are possible since the overall costs of fuel are projected to decline, according to Mike Behrens, the vice president and chief financial officer for NV Energy.

“Giving this short-term remedy over the summer coupled with the lower natural gas prices now being experienced, allows the company to ease into a trend of lower deferred energy rates without another quarterly increase,” Behrens said in filed testimony to the PUC.

The proposed rate increase would raise $510.9 million in revenue for NV Energy while the proposed rate decrease would reduce NV Energy’s revenue by $225.9 million. If both the increase and decrease are approved, NV Energy would still boost its revenue by about $285.1 million.

The company said the added revenue won’t increase its profit margin since the rates cover a 12-month rolling average for NV Energy’s fuel purchase costs and it isn’t allowed to profit off those costs.

Impact on residential customers

If both rate adjustments are approved, a single-family residential customer in Southern Nevada using 1,800 kilowatt hours of energy — the average for July 2022 — would pay $304 a month, according to NV Energy. That amount is $9 less than that customer would pay under current rates and $46 less a month than if just the rate increase is approved.

Meanwhile, a Southern Nevada customer living in a multi-family home who uses 1,100 kilowatt hours — July 2022’s average — would pay $180 if both rate adjustments are approved. That’s $5, or 2.7 percent, less than that customer would pay under current rates and $29 less than if the just the rate increase is OK’d.

Residential customers in Northern Nevada would see slightly larger cuts in their monthly bills.

Domestic service ratepayers would see their monthly bills drop by $16 or 8.7 percent while domestic multi-family ratepayers would see their bills fall by $8 or 8 percent.

Earlier proposed decrease

In keeping with its pledge of two weeks ago, NV Energy initially filed a request to lower its quarterly energy rates by 5 percent in Southern Nevada and 16 percent in Northern Nevada.

But NV Energy amended its quarterly rate adjustment and applied for the rate increases after the Bureau of Consumer Protection said the rate decrease didn’t follow state regulations and shouldn’t be approved. Once NV Energy amended its rate adjustments with the increases the BCP withdrew its objection.

The BCP stated it supports efforts to reduce ratepayers’ energy bills but those efforts need to conform to regulations.

If the quarterly fuel rate increase is approved, it would mark the fifth consecutive quarter NV Energy has raised these rates. The company has blamed the price hikes on the increased cost of natural gas.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter.

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