New Organization Battles NV Energy Over Corporate Grid Exit Fees

organization battles NV Energy over corporate grid exit fees
Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr Creative Commons

A new nonprofit organization called the Smart Energy Alliance is filing motions during NV Energy’s rate case requesting details about how the utility is using grid exit fees, the Nevada Independent reported. Backed by the Las Vegas-based data storage company Switch, the recently formed group wants to know how NV Energy is spending $173 million collected from large corporate customers that have withdrawn from the utility’s bundled electric services program.

In the past year-plus, several major corporate customers have filed to withdraw from NV Energy and purchase energy on the open market. They include MGM Resorts International and Wynn Las Vegas as well as Caesars Entertainment. Switch left in December — a move that could end up costing as much as $27 million, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reported.

The Smart Energy Alliance, which the Nevada Independent points out lacks a website or social media presence, has filed several motions during NV Energy’s general rate case. The nonprofit argues that the Public Utilities Commission should open an investigation into the use of impact fees from the large energy customers who have exited.

“Josh Weber, a Portland-based attorney representing the nonprofit group, said that its current membership is ‘fluid’ and declined to name any other members or backers of the group other than many were businesses with large energy loads,” the Nevada Independent reported. “He said that SEA is similar to other state organizations that keep an eye on utility proceedings, and planned to stay involved in future cases before the PUC.”

Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts told the Nevada Independent’s Riley Snyder that they are not members of the nonprofit. At the time of publication, Caesars Entertainment and the Las Vegas Sands had not responded yet to Snyder’s request for information.

This week the PUC staff recommended dismissing the nonprofit’s motion, saying that the impact fees were already assessed by the commission and paid for by customers exercising their choice to depart bundled electric service. The fees will be “used to defray the cost of providing service for remaining members,” the filing says.

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