Hearing for NV Energy petition Wednesday

Public comment will be heard by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada today in Carson City during a consumer session to consider NV Energy’s petition to recover smart meter costs in Northern Nevada.

The session begins at 6 p.m. in Hearing Room A at the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, 1150 E. William St.

NV Energy — Sierra Pacific Power Co. doing business as NV Energy — is seeking recovery of approximately $53 million of electric division costs and approximately $25 million of gas division costs after implementing Advanced Service Delivery Project (smart meters).

Public comment will be limited to NV Energy’s petition, according to Peter Kostes, PUCN public information officer. NV Energy and PUCN representatives will be in attendance to hear comments and answer questions.

NV Energy’s petition examines both the costs and estimated long-term savings of the smart meters. When commissioners approved the project in 2010, NV Energy was directed to demonstrate that the long-term savings would benefit consumers as a condition for recovery of the investment.

No decisions will be made before Sept. 8, when commissioners meet to review input on the application. Commissioners may approve changes to rates as necessary to provide that such rates are just and reasonable.

Smart meters were implemented to bring digital data-collecting technology to NV Energy customers in place of the old analog meters.

The petition says the estimated long-term savings, spread out over a 20-year period, will total $82 million. In addition, NV Energy’s electric division requests recovery of approximately $2 million of costs associated with the Nevada Dynamic Pricing Trial, or voluntary time of use program.

Calculations haven’t yet been completed to determine how a typical residential customer’s monthly bill would be affected by recovery of costs for the smart meter project, according to NV Energy spokesman Karl Walquist.

Some NV Energy customers, however, decided to keep their old analog meters. In November 2012, PUCN approved a trial smart meter opt-out program at a cost to Northern Nevada customers that included a one-time fee of $107.66 for electric meters and $6.08 for natural gas meters. An extra monthly opt-out charge of $8.04 was approved for electric customers. Those fees were set to cover the company’s cost of personnel and equipment to read the meters, Walquist explained in 2012.


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