September 14, 2022 - 3:57 pm
The proposed merger of NV Energy’s two subsidiaries has been delayed, possibly until next year, after the state’s largest utility requested more time to address concerns raised by companies and organizations.
“We believe that getting the parties together will allow us to answer the questions raised in testimony and further explain the savings and customer benefits that are delivered through the merger,” Jennifer Schuricht, director of corporate communications for NV Energy, said in an email.
NV Energy is looking to merge its electric subsidiaries — Nevada Power, which provides electricity to customers in Southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power, which serves Northern Nevada — into one entity. The company has said the move would create savings for consumers by keeping rates from rising.
But some companies and organizations such as Wynn Resorts Ltd. and the Bureau of Consumer Protection are skeptical, according to testimony filed earlier this month with the Public Utility Commission.
At the time, the utility told the Review-Journal in a statement: “The proposed merger will make our legal corporate structure more consistent with how we operate day-to-day. Our customers will benefit from a simplified corporate structure, cost savings associated with operating efficiencies and NV Energy’s new combined financing activities.”
Initially, the PUC was set to hold a hearing Monday on the merits of the merger, but it has now scheduled a pre-hearing conference on Oct. 11. The conference will “formulate and simplify issues” within the merger proceedings, according to PUC filings.
Since the delay requires a new procedural schedule, any potential decision over the merger could be pushed to 2023, according to Schuricht.
NV Energy was expected to file its rebuttal testimony last week to address concerns from Nevada companies around the impact of the merger.
Some issues identified included how the merger would affect state regulations that apply to Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific and how insurance costs would be affected by the merger.
“Based on the questions raised in the testimony, it was clear some parties did not understand the benefits,” said Schuricht. “Taking the time needed to explain those benefits in a collaborative environment rather than through a contested hearing made the most sense.”