News Releases

Sierra Pacific authorized to Recover Higher Natural Gas Costs

Dec 27, 2000

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Charles Fletcher
Phone: 775) 834-3959

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Co. received authorization today from the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to recover additional costs beginning February 1, 2001, that the company pays to its natural gas suppliers. The resulting increase in the price per therm paid by residential customers will be approximately 35 percent, which is only about one-third the increase during the past year reported by the Department of Energy for the cost of natural gas at the wellhead.

According to the American Gas Association, natural gas prices have risen during the last year because of growing demand coupled with tight domestic supplies, resulting from the high, volatile prices for oil, a competing fuel. The gas bill for a typical Sierra Pacific residential customer who uses 53 therms of natural gas per month will rise by $11.52 (from $33.16 to $44.68). Customers will begin seeing the new rate reflected in their bills as of February 1, 2001.

"This increase is a direct result of the higher cost of natural gas being charged to Sierra Pacific by its gas suppliers," said Bill Branch, Director of Rates and Regulatory Affairs for Sierra Pacific Power Co."These higher costs charged by suppliers are passed through to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis."

Branch said the company has been able to protect customers from the full impact of prices being paid by other utilities across the nation because Sierra Pacific has been particularly efficient in managing how it purchases its gas supplies.

A customer's bill for natural gas is determined by both the price paid for the gas itself and by the amount of gas they use. As a result, many customers have the ability to control their bills by reducing gas usage, particularly during cold winter months. Some steps that can be taken to reduce gas usage include turning down thermostats, adding extra attic insulation, and weather-stripping and caulking doors and windows.

Customers interested in learning more about how to save gas and conserve energy can contact Sierra Pacific at 834-4556.