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Utility offers hints on spending

Curious about what might happen to your power rates the next few years?

NV Energy offered a hint Friday when it filed its triennial integrated resource plan. The plan explains to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada how the utility expects to meet power demand through 2015.

Spending recommended in the proposal could end up in your rates, if the commission approves of the plan.

Among the highlights: The proposal is by far the smallest in the past decade, with $155.2 million in spending over the next three years, or $51.7 million a year. The 2006 version sought $2.3 billion over three years, including $1.2 billion for a later canceled coal plant. The 2009 resource plan sought $925 million in new building and initiatives, including $500 million for the One Nevada transmission line (ONLine) now under construction between Apex and Ely, and $425 million for efficiency and conservation initiatives and solar arrays.

Almost 93 percent of the current plan would also go to efficiency and conservation programs such as refrigerator recycling rebates and home weatherization, compared with 35.1 percent in the last plan. Yet, spending on the programs would total
$144 million, down from $328.3 million in the 2009 plan.

Because of slow population growth, the utility doesn’t foresee need for more power plants before 2018.

The plan is important because it gives a glimpse of company expenses that might go into rates in two years. A pricier resource plan could bring noticeably higher rates. A smaller plan could mean smaller or flat rate increases. NV Energy files its next general rate case to recover operating expenses in 2014, with rates that would take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

The PUC will review the plan and hold hearings to determine its prudence, so it’s tough to say how rates might change. The last three general rate increases were 5.6 percent in 2006, 6.9 percent in 2009 and 3.5 percent on Jan. 1. January’s increase included $23.2 million in development costs for the Ely Energy Center, which was killed because of potential greenhouse-gas emissions.

The biggest chunk of spending,
$57.9 million, would go to demand-response programs that encourage consumers to cut power use during peak periods.

The plan is available at pucweb1.state.nv.us. Click on “Docket Info,” go to “Electric Dockets” and choose the triennial integrated resource plan item.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at
jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512.
Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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