Letter to editor: Public Comment Does Matter

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A letter appeared in the Nevada Appeal on Feb. 20, from Len Gostin ("Sierra Pacific rate hikes"), referring to the outcome of rate cases pending before the Public Utilities Commission stating, "petitions and statements at public hearings have had little or no impact."

I would like to point out that comments made by members of the public at Consumer Sessions hosted by the PUC do matter. Comments and opinions voiced in these forums are very important and help the PUC gauge public interest on issues.

Additionally, information presented becomes part of the permanent record of a case and can be developed further and presented at the formal hearings.

In the coming months, the PUC will be holding hearings on Sierra Pacific Power Company's General Rate Case and Deferred Energy Rate Case, wherein the company's business practices will be scrutinized, and the costs it incurred for energy purchases will be evaluated as to whether they were "prudent" or not.

A determination of prudency is required in accordance with legislative mandate. During the 2001 Legislative Session the PUC supported this position before the Legislature and agreed that the company should not be allowed to recover costs for imprudent energy purchases.

The PUC has scheduled Consumer Sessions on the above-mentioned cases to give members of the public an opportunity to have their comments and concerns entered into the record and documented. Sessions are scheduled as follows:

Feb. 25, 6 p.m., Public Utilities Commission, 1150 E. William St., Carson City Mar. 4, 6 p.m., Carson Valley Inn, 1627 Highway 395, Minden

Mar. 25, 6 p.m., Reno-Sparks Convention Center, Reno

Public comment does matter. The public should be assured that Sierra Pacific Power Company will be thoroughly scrutinized during the upcoming hearings. Attendance at the Consumer Sessions is important, and I encourage participation in them.


Chairman, Public Utilities Commission


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