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NV Energy scores power supply agreement with football stadium owners

NV Energy Inc. subsidiary Nevada Power Co. has asked state regulators to approve a proposed contract under which the utility would provide energy to the new stadium home of the NFL's Oakland Raiders. Under the deal, LV Stadium Events Co. LLC would drop its plan to obtain electricity from an alternative provider.

Separately, the utility filed tariff revisions that would allow LV Stadium and other eligible customers to receive bundled electric service reflecting the market price of energy without subjecting them to impact fees. The revised tariff would allow the utility to provide new service options to companies that decide to locate in its service area.

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission in January approved LV Stadium's application to light the team's new 65,000-seat domed Allegiant Stadium near the Las Vegas strip with power from a competitive energy supplier. But the stadium company subsequently asked the PUC to suspend its move to an alternative supplier, noting that the utility was offering new services that would be similar to those offered by the independent energy supplier and it wanted time to evaluate that option.

Nevada Power's deal with that high-visibility customer would help the Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary's Nevada utilities counter their recent trend of losing big energy customers to alternative suppliers. NV Energy has fought back by cutting special deals with large energy customers, and the state in June passed a law that makes make choosing alternative power providers more expensive and difficult for large energy customers.

That law amended statutory provisions under which large customers, such as major hotels and casinos, could apply to leave their incumbent power provider. Under those provisions, large customers can sign contracts with cheaper suppliers but have to pay millions of dollars in impact fees to the incumbent utilities to compensate for the costs of stranded assets.

But Nevada Power and its sister utility Sierra Pacific Power Co. have recently lost potential new customers for which they have not built any assets. The PUC previously established a general rule that new large energy consumers contracting to take service from an alternative provider are not subject to paying impact fees if their incumbent utility has not specifically planned to supply their businesses.

In a white paper Nevada Power filed along with its proposed agreement with LV Stadium and LVR Real Property LLC, the utility said it has received "overwhelming customer feedback requesting more cost-certainty and flexibility" for electric bills over the past several years. A number of customers also expressed interest in collaborating with the utilities to help customers with corporate sustainability and environmental objectives, and LV Stadium specifically had emphasized a preference for renewable energy, the white paper said.

Nevada Power said it proposed a fixed energy rate for most of the years covered by its 25-year contract with LV Stadium, with pricing tied to a recently executed power purchase agreement with a solar facility in its service territory that includes battery storage.

The stadium will be home to the Oakland Raiders, who are moving from Oakland, Calif. The team will be renamed the Las Vegas Raiders and begin playing in Allegiant Stadium in 2020.