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Cosmopolitan files to leave NV Energy's electric service

Riley Snyder
Riley Snyder
Photo of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Yet another major casino on the Las Vegas Strip has filed an application to leave NV Energy’s electric service.

The 3,033-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel and casino filed an application with state energy regulators last week to leave NV Energy’s electric service and to purchase power on the open market; the third such business or entity to do so in 2019.

The Cosmopolitan is the latest Nevada business to take advantage of a state law that allows large power users to file applications to leave the state’s incumbent electric utility and purchase power on the open market, usually in return for a multi-million dollar exit fee to offset any unexpected costs that would need to be paid by other customers.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the business said the company was "exploring the option of departing from NV Energy in 2019, a decision that will allow the resort to procure renewable energy resources to power some or all of its operation in its continued commitment to sustainability."

It also comes as NV Energy has taken increasingly aggressive moves to block the flow of large customers departing from the utility’s electric service and as lawmakers mull amending the process set out in law that allows customers to depart the utility’s service.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and a planned multimillion dollar hydrogen fuel plant in Southern Nevada filed to leave the utility’s electric service earlier in February — the first two businesses to do so this year. At least 10 companies filed to leave the utility’s electric service last year, including the Grand Sierra Resort, SLS Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming, MSG Las Vegas, a building supplies company north of Las Vegas, the under-construction Raiders stadium, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels and Station Casinos.

Another handful of large casinos and companies — including Switch, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts — filed to leave the utility in 2014.

In its application, attorneys for The Cosmopolitan provided few reasons for the exit application but said the company met all requirements for an exit, which must be approved by the three-member Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and usually takes several months of hearings and filings.

Attorneys for the company said they met requirements for a successful exit application, including annual power load, and said they were in negotiations with Exelon Generation to serve as the company’s new electric provider in a five-year contract, with an estimated start date of Jan. 1, 2020.

The casino’s application also said it would fulfill a portion of state law requiring it to procure an extra 10 percent of electricity and sell it at cost to NV Energy, and promised to pay for any system impact studies or facility studies in case additional transmission capacity is needed.

Attorneys for the Cosmopolitan said that granting the application would be an overall benefit to the public.

“Approval of Cosmopolitan’s Application will not cause NV Energy to experience any increased costs as a result of the proposed transaction, remaining customers will not see any increase in rates as a result of the proposed transaction, there is no reason why the transaction would impair system reliability or NV Energy’s ability to continue to provide service to its customers, and the energy that Cosmopolitan will procure from its provider will meet the requirements of (state law) adding energy to the state,” attorneys wrote in the application.

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