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PUC approves sale of NV Energy to MidAmerican Energy

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada unanimously approved the $5.6 billion sale of NV Energy to MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. on Monday, including stipulations outlined in a settlement agreement filed Oct. 28.

The agreement refunds $20 million to NV Energy customers — averaging about $13 per Las Vegas household — and promises that neither utility will charge customers for costs related to the merger, including a $2 billion “acquisition premium.”

In May, investor Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican agreed to buy NV Energy for $5.6 billion. Shareholders have $3.6 billion in equity, leaving a difference of $2 billion, which was to be paid by customers.

Refunds will be processed within 30 days of the close of the sale and appear as credits on customers’ bills. NV Energy is now awaiting a decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which could come this week.

The settlement agreement between MidAmerican, NV Energy, the regulatory operations staff and the Bureau of Consumer Protection and other signatories was reviewed by the PUC during a Nov. 18 hearing.

A PUC draft order filed Thursday recommended the sale.

“Therefore, the commission finds that based on the record created, representation made, an clarifications obtained at the hearing on the stipulation, it is in the public interest to accept the stipulation. …” the draft order reads.

According the the 34-commitment stipulation, NV Energy will not seek collection of lost revenues and will not seek lost revenues in excess of 50 percent in 2015.

MidAmerican and NV Energy also agree not to move senior management out of the state, and executives will not receive raises derived from rates for 24 months.

Within six months of the close of the sale, MidAmerican and NV Energy promised to investigate the cause of Nevada Power Co.’s low customer satisfaction ratings.

During the Nov. 18 hearing, NV Energy confirmed that Nevada Power Co., which serves Las Vegas, had low customer server ratings and they had been aware of the rankings for five years.

The study will include both residential and commercial customers.

Chairwoman Alaina Burtenshaw said PUC would be conducting its own investigation as well.

NV Energy and MidAmerican’s adherence to the commitments will be tracked and reported for a minimum of five years, from April 2015 to April 2019.

No later than April 1 of each year, the NV Energy will file a report documenting its performance. PUC Regulatory Operations Staff will then have 60 days to review the report and provide a recommendation to the commission on whether the utility has fulfilled its commitments.

Contact reporter Kristy Totten at ktotten@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3809. Follow @kristy_tea on Twitter.

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