News Releases

Sierra Pacific Electric and Gas Customers to get Rebate

Apr 29, 1999

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Bob Sagan or Karl Walquist
Phone: (775) 834-4345

For Immediate Release

Utility Says Electric Prices Lower than 1993- Citing as a reason its ability to reduce operating costs, Sierra Pacific Power Co. will rebate approximately $10 million to its Nevada electric and natural gas customers for 1997, effective in May. The company also will file with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) for its 1998 customer rebate on Friday, April 30. It's possible customers will see that rebate as early as this fall.

The $10-million, 1997 rebate is the result of an agreement reached in 1997 between Sierra Pacific, the Office of Consumer Advocate and the PUCN staff. Sierra Pacific filed with the PUCN in 1998, requesting permission to issue the rebate. The rebate was approved by the Commission on April 21.

This three-year"shared earnings" agreement states that any Sierra Pacific earnings for 1997, 1998 and 1999 that exceed a certain plateau, should be split 50-50 between the utility's customers and its shareholders.

"We've been working hard to hold down our costs, streamline our work force and achieve new operating efficiencies," said Douglas R. Ponn, Sierra Pacific vice president for Governmental and Regulatory Affairs."That hard work is paying off in terms of this rebate, and our electric and natural gas price freeze, which is in effect until the year 2000."

According to Ponn, Sierra Pacific first froze its electric and natural gas prices in 1994. Electric prices were subsequently reduced in May 1995, and customers were given a rebate in July 1995. In 1997, Sierra Pacific further reduced Nevada's electric prices by $7.1 million, extended the price freeze until the year 2000, and rebated $13 million to Nevada electric customers. As a result of all those actions, the utility's Nevada customers are paying less for electricity in 1999 than they were paying in 1993, Ponn said.

Of the total $10 million being rebated to customers in May, approximately $8.5 million is on the electric side of the business. The remaining $1.5 million comes from natural gas operations.

Typical residential electric customers will see a one-time electric credit of $11.53 on their utility bills effective in May. Typical residential gas customers will see a one-time gas credit of approximately $8.85 on their bills.

Larger commercial customers will receive a check for their rebates, while other commercial accounts will have their bills credited. In all cases, the sum rebated will reflect both the electric and natural gas rebates, where applicable (Sierra Pacific does not provide natural gas service outside the Reno/Sparks area).

Each group of customers will receive its rebate based on the portion of Sierra Pacific's business which that group represented for the time period. If, for example, residential customers represented 30 percent of the utility's business in 1997, it would receive 30 percent of the total rebate.

The rebate will be credited on the May utility bill to active residential customers. If a customer does not have an active account at the time of billing, he or she will not automatically receive the rebate. All commercial customers who received service in 1997, and are still active, will also qualify for the rebate. Any customers who think they qualify, but who have not received a rebate, can call the toll-free number provided. Sierra Pacific will research the account and rebate as appropriate.

The current rebate marks the third since 1994. In that time period, Sierra Pacific's electric rates also were reduced twice, and two price freezes were imposed on electric and natural gas rates.

Anyone with questions can call toll-free 1.877.273.2283 (1.877.2.REBATE)