Exterior view of the NV Energy building Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, in Las Vegas.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | 4:30 p.m.
The city of Las Vegas will continue to weigh leaving NV Energy in search of a better deal with another power provider, the City Council voted today.
The city is considering a path taken by a number of other major customers, including casino companies, that have parted ways with NV Energy.
The council authorized city staff to continue discussions with Omaha, Neb.-based energy company Tenaska about a possible agreement. But it also voted to start negotiations for a new contract with NV Energy, keeping all options on the table.
The city’s contract with NV Energy expires in December.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Mayor Pro Tem Lois Tarkanian and council members Stavros Anthony, Cedric Crear and Michele Fiore voted to continue nonbinding negotiations with both providers. Councilman Bob Coffin opposed the motion.
“Taking this next step commits us to nothing,” said Tom Perrigo, the city’s executive director of community development. “It’s simply fact-finding to get us more information.”
Perrigo will report back to the council on April 3 with more details from both utilities, including rate estimates. Both promise to continue the city’s 100 percent renewable energy commitment, which NV Energy helped the city reach in 2016.
City Manager Scott Adams said the city, facing an operating budget deficit, is also looking to reduce its costs under a new energy contract.
“We have an opportunity to save a significant amount of money in our operating budget that goes right to our bottom line,” he said.
David Brown, speaking for Tenaska, said the company could save the city 30 percent of its total energy costs, or $3 million, annually.
“You don’t have to believe either of us today. We are simply asking that you move this forward,” he said.
Tony Sanchez, a senior vice president at NV Energy, emphasized the public utility’s long-standing partnership with the city, its ability to offer low rates and its commitment to renewable energy. Council members agreed that the city has not been disappointed by NV Energy’s service.
“NV Energy is family to us,” Goodman said.
About a dozen lobbyists, union leaders and residents voiced opposition to the city leaving NV Energy, with some noting that leaving the public utility comes with an exit fee set by the Public Utility Commission. The fee, which is intended to cover any increases in costs as a result of an entity ending its contract with NV Energy, will not be announced for at least three months.
Others characterized NV Energy as a local company that gives back to the community, in contrast to out-of-state Tenaska.
Speaking for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 396, Jesse Newman questioned if the loss of large NV Energy customers could force the utility to lay off workers.
“I ask that you take them into consideration before choosing an out-of-state energy provider with no employees or assets in the city of Las Vegas,” he said.
In the last year, several NV Energy customers, such as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, have filed exit applications. In response, NV Energy has rolled out a discounted renewable energy electricity rate for some of its major clients, the Nevada GreenEnergy Rider (NGR 2.0).
“We understand the city’s desire to stay 100 percent green, and the NGR 2.0 process is a great