News Releases

Sierra Pacific Files Certification in Rate Case

Feb 27, 2002

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Faye I. Andersen
Phone: (775) 834-4822

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Company made its certification filing today with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), lowering its original General Rate Case request to increase overall electric rates from 4% to 2.4%. The filing is a required part of any General Rate Case request made by a utility in Nevada.

The General Rate Case filing, originally made on November 30, 2001, is Sierra Pacific's first such case since 1992. It was filed in response to legislation passed last year that established a two-phase process for the PUCN to conduct a thorough review of the utility's finances, expenditures and fuel and electric power purchases it made on behalf of its customers.

After the filing, the utility had 90 days to"certify" the numbers and complete its calculations, which resulted in the reduced amount. The total amount of the request has been reduced from $28 million to $16 million.

The original General Rate Case request had sought a 2.5% decrease for the typical residential customer using 715 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. This certification filing extends that decrease to 4.78%. The increase for business customers ranges from 1-7%, depending upon the size of the customer. The request is designed to cover operating and maintenance expenses, the costs of borrowing money and profit paid to the owners of the company.

Sierra Pacific filed it's Deferred Energy case on February 1, 202, the second rate case in this two phase process. In it, the company requested an overall 9.9% increase to recover expenses for fuel and power purchased by the company last year, when extremely volatile energy markets caused unprecedented high prices.

This is known as a Deferred Energy case because the company was charged with collecting these expenditures into an account and requesting recovery of those costs in this case. Fuel and power purchased costs are recovered dollar- for-dollar, with no mark up by the company.

The Deferred Energy request proposed a 7.7% increase for the typical residential customer using 715 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. When combined with the decrease from the certification filing, the typical residential customer would see a net increase of $2.68 per month. Before the certification, the combined request meant a $4 per month increase. Under the combination of the two cases, the increase for business customers ranges from 13-17%, following the certification filing.

The two cases will be heard concurrently by the PUCN. Formal hearings on the cases are scheduled to begin April 8, and a decision from the PUCN is expected June 1.

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Editor's Note:
In the General Rate Case (Phase One), the PUCN will closely examine Sierra Pacific's operating and maintenance expenses, its finances and capital expenditures the company has made on new facilities to serve customers.

In Phase Two, the Deferred Energy Case, Sierra Pacific is requesting reimbursement for fuel to generate electricity and power purchased by the company on behalf of its customers from March through November 2001. The filing will also set new electric rates to match the on-going cost of providing electricity to customers.