Utilities commission schedules hearings

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has scheduled two consumer sessions related to rate changes two local utilities have proposed.

The first public-comment session is set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. inside the Clark County Public Library, at 1401 E. Flamingo Road. The commission will field consumer testimony on NV Energy’s suggested rate increase to recoup $77 million it spent on purchased power and power plants. The requested increase would be 3.18 percent overall, which would add about $5 a month to the average power bill. The higher rate would take effect Oct. 1.

The request is separate from the general rate case decided on June 24. That case will have raised the average monthly residential power bill 6.9 percent by Jan. 1.

On Thursday, the commission will ask the public to weigh in on two Southwest Gas cases.

The first is a general rate case through which Southwest Gas will seek an annual revenue increase of $28.8 million, or 5.9 percent. The average monthly gas bill would rise by $5.53, or 7 percent, in the winter.

In its second case, Southwest Gas applied for a $5.6 million decrease in annual revenue because of dropping costs of purchased fuel. If granted, that case would push down the typical wintertime gas bill by 89 cents, or 1.3 percent.

The hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m. inside the Sunrise Library, at 5400 Harris Ave.

Judge hears arguments in Fontainebleau case

Florida bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol gave both sides until July 21 to submit proposed orders in Fontainebleau Las Vegas’ case seeking a summary judgment against a group of banks that withheld a loan intended to complete construction of the Strip project.

The judge asked for the proposed orders Monday after hearing 41/2 hours of arguments in Miami.

Attorneys for the developer, Jeffrey Soffer, and the banks, led by Bank of America, were told to have proposed orders turned in by July 21 with a ruling in the weeks following.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas officials are asking Cristol to force the banks to release $656 million in financing that the banks withheld in March.

Representatives for the project and banks met Thursday and Friday for mediation talks. Cristol ordered the two sides to try to mediate a resolution of the conflict.

BLM accepting comments on project

The Bureau of Land Management has opened a formal public comment period on issues and concerns to be addressed in an environmental study for a proposed solar energy project in Southern Nevada.

Solar Millennium LLC is seeking a right of way to build two solar thermal power plants on public lands in Nye County, about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

The project site would encompass about 4,300 acres in Amargosa Valley. Officials say each plant would generate 242 megawatts of power.

The BLM said public comments must be received by Aug. 12 to be considered in a draft environmental impact statement.

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