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Sahara Las Vegas looking to leave NV Energy

The Sahara is changing more than just its name this year; it’s also working toward using a new energy supplier.

On Wednesday morning, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission reaffirmed its order granting the property’s application to leave NV Energy.

Both the Sahara and the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno — two properties owned by Alex Meruelo — submitted their initial applications in December.

In April, the Grand Sierra Resort withdrew its application to leave NV Energy, citing concerns about transmission capacity in Northern Nevada.

The PUC approved the Sahara’s request to leave in May, but NV Energy petitioned for the PUC to reconsider its decision. On Wednesday, the commission reaffirmed its original decision, granting the Sahara the ability to leave the utility.

Documents show the Sahara “has no intention of taking service directly from generation assets that are owned by or contractually committed to (NV Energy).” The Sahara said in documents filed with the PUC that it intends to receive energy from Tenaska Power Service Co., and plans to start taking service from the provider as early as Oct. 1.

Tenaska is one of the largest private energy companies in the country, and offers marketing and trading services with the Western Electricity Coordinating Council wholesale power markets.

Documents filed by Sahara do not outline why it wants to use an alternative provider, but spokespeople from other major casinos that have moved to leave the utility have said electricity costs are a determining factor.

At least six companies have left NV Energy since 2005 to pursue more renewable options and cheaper rates. This year, NV Energy has been making agreements with a number of companies to keep them from leaving, including Resorts World Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

“We believe we are the best energy partner for (the Sahara), and we are committed to providing them with customized solutions that address their unique business needs and provide added value,” NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht said.

Sahara spokesman Christopher Abraham declined to comment.

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

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