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NV Energy lawsuit could mean refund to customers

Local power utility NV Energy has filed a lawsuit that could result in a refund for its Southern Nevada customers.

NV Energy filed the complaint in Washoe County District Court. The lawsuit seeks to overturn a Nevada Department of Taxation finding that NV Energy isn’t entitled to a refund of use taxes it paid on coal it bought from 2002 to 2006 to fire its Nevada power plants.

NV Energy wants a refund of $14.4 million in Southern Nevada and $11.5 million in Northern Nevada, plus interest.

A portion of the refunds would go to consumers, while a separate entity would receive a share due to joint-venture and power-purchase arrangements.

The Taxation Department denied the use-tax refund because NV Energy bought the coal from mines in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, so the company didn’t have to pay the net-proceeds levy that comes with buying resources mined in Nevada.

NV Energy contends that Nevada law prevents the state from charging use tax on the purchase of coal from mines outside Nevada.

NV Energy also holds that imposing a use tax on the utility’s out-of-state coal purchases puts it at a competitive disadvantage to utilities that use Nevada-produced fuel sources and thus don’t have to pay a sales or use tax on that energy.

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