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NV Energy corporate headquarters as seen on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Democratic Sen. Chris Brooks’ bill setting new restrictions and limits on the ability of large businesses to leave NV Energy is moving forward, but with a major amendment stripping out sections that would affect businesses that have already left or are in the process of leaving the utility.

The amendment to SB547, which was voted out of committee in a “behind the bar” meeting Thursday, retains much of the language of the bill presented last week by Brooks that created a new process for companies to leave NV Energy while requiring companies that have already left to help pay for rate-funded programs required by the Legislature and for historic long-term renewable energy contracts entered into the utility over the previous decades.

The changes mean that large electric customers that have already filed to leave NV Energy — including MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Barrick, Newmont, and Switch — as well as the nearly dozen or so in the process of departing the utility will not be required to pay surcharges to help fund a wide variety of programs including low-income energy assistance, net metering for rooftop solar and energy efficiency. It also removes provisions requiring those companies to pay a new rate based on the cost of long-term renewable energy contracts that the utility entered into to comply with the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

Although a spokeswoman for the Nevada Resort Association said the trade organization did not have a position on the bill, the amendment is a clear benefit to many of the state’s largest casinos, which, under the new version of the bill, will not see their costs rise after departing the utility’s electric service.

The bill still contains provisions overhauling the current departure process for large businesses to leave NV Energy, including limits on when companies can leave, licensing and more regulations for companies servicing the departed businesses and setting higher requirements for businesses to leave NV Energy.

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