Power bills should drop, following Utilities Commission decision today

Power bills should drop slightly following approval of an agreement by Nevada's Public Utilities Commission on Monday.

The typical Sierra Pacific Power Co. customer using 675 kilowatt hours of electricity will see a monthly decrease of 82 cents, or $9.84 a year. The rate adjustment is expected to decrease bills in Northern Nevada by a total of $9.8 million, or 1.4 percent, beginning June 1.

The agreement also gives local electric customers a $19.8 million, or 2.7 percent, rate decrease starting June 1 of 2004.

"We are hopeful this signals the end of the huge run-up in energy costs that we have seen over the past few years and will lead to more stable pricing for our customers," said Jeff Ceccarelli, president of Sierra Pacific Power. "We are also very appreciative that the PUCN recognized the challenges that were overcome to reach this agreement."

Conducted in lieu of a utilities commission hearing, the agreement allows Sierra Pacific to maintain its base tariff energy rate, the rate it charges to recover fuel and purchased-power costs to supply customers with electricity.

All of the parties in the agreement consented to the dismissal of civil cases on file with the 1st Judicial District Court in Nevada, addressing the utility commission's decision in Sierra Pacific's previous deferred-energy filing.

PUCN also voted Monday to allow Sierra Pacific to recover costs invested in conservation programs, resulting in a slight increase, 5 to 7 cents per month, to pay for low-income weatherization, energy education, information and conservation programs.


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