Nevada energy regulators’ staff say the proposed departure of Raiders Stadium from NV Energy will probably not financially harm the utility or its customers, but warned that similar exits could harm the system as a whole.
In an “impact analysis” submitted on Nov. 13, staff for the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada said it was “likely” the team’s departure would have no financial impact on NV Energy or its customers. Under state law, large power users are permitted to apply to leave the utility but are typically required to pay a substantial “impact fee” in order to shield other customers of the utility from costs resulting from the departure.
But several entities, including the Raiders, have recently filed preemptive applications to leave the utility in hopes of avoiding any fee and to either find cheaper power or a different fuel mix. Earlier this month, PUC Commissioners voted against a multimillion dollar exit fee proposed by NV Energy on an under-construction biofuels plant in Northern Nevada.
The team filed to leave NV Energy as a customer in September.
In its analysis, PUC staff said the team’s advance notice of its desire to leave the utility would give NV Energy enough time to plan ahead and not suffer any financial consequences. But it warned that the “unique circumstances” around the Raiders’ exit could not be repeated by other businesses in the state without threatening the underlying model for utility ratemaking.
“Staff fully understands that (NV Energy) does not plan for every customer’s individual load and instead plans for an aggregate amount of customer load and if every customer were to want to depart bundled retail service and argued (NV Energy) was not planning for them by name in a load forecast, the principles/foundation of resource planning would fall apart,” PUC staff wrote.
PUC staff also recommended that the Raiders be assessed some legislatively-mandated charges outside of power consumption on electric bills, including an economic development charge and for any future costs associated with retiring coal plants such as Reid Gardner and Navajo. It also recommended that the commission charge the team the annual 5 percent local government fee — a fee that includes business license taxes, franchise fees, and right-of-way fees.
A hearing on the team’s application to leave the utility is scheduled for Jan. 3.