Caesars Files to Cut Ties with NV Energy

Caesars Entertainment formally applied to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on November 23 (Docket Nos. 16-11035 and 16-11034) to withdraw as a retail customer of NV Energy and “to purchase energy, capacity, and … ancillary services from a provider of new electric resources.”

If its applications are approved, Caesars would become the fifth gaming company to consider cutting ties with the utility in recent months. Caesars indicated it would be prepared to leave NV Energy as soon as next September, according to a November 30 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In July, the PUC found that MGM Resorts International and Wynn Las Vegas (Docket Nos.15-0517 and 15-05006, respectively) had complied with all outstanding requirements – and could withdraw from NV Energy’s bundled electric services program this year, instead purchasing their energy on the open market.

The two Strip hotel-casino owners became the first to leave in more than a decade, using a 2001 law enacted by the Nevada Legislature, according to the Review-Journal. The statue, NRS 704b, permits companies to cut ties with the utility, if they consume more than 1 megawatt (MW) of power annually, pay an exit fee, and receive approval from the PUC.

Peppermill Casinos in South Reno also filed (Docket No. 16-07017) on July 12 with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUCN) for the go-ahead to leave NV Energy and buy its power on the open retail market. However, on September 14, Peppermill Casinos withdrew its application. In addition, the Las Vegas Sands said last May that it would put its efforts to leave the utility on hold.

Caesars’ exit fees would be assessed by the commission to allow for the departure, the local news outlet said. The fees approved by the commission totaled $86.9 million for MGM and $15.7 million for Wynn.

The company operates a number of hotel-casinos in Southern Nevada: Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, The Linq Hotel, Planet Hollywood, Paris Las Vegas, The Rio, and Harrah’s Laughlin. It operates three more in Northern Nevada: Harrah’s Reno, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and Harveys Lake Tahoe.

The applications to purchase energy from a new electricity provider are dated November 23, but were just posted to the PUC website. Caesars indicated in its Southern Nevada application that the company intends to purchase electricity directly from Tenaska Power Services of Arlington, Texas.

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