Another casino looks to part ways - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Energy Procurement, Regulation, Utilities, Commercial, Sourcing Renewables  -  November 30, 2016 - By Amy Poszywak

Caesars files to stop buying power from NV Energy

Toward the end of an already tough year for Nevada's largest utility, NV Energy Inc., yet another of its large electric customers has filed with state regulators for permission to buy its power elsewhere. 

Following in the footsteps of MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd., which asked for and were granted permission from the Nevada Public Utilities Commission earlier this year to stop purchasing electricity from the utility, Caesars Entertainment Corp. on Nov. 23 filed a formal request to do the same. While Caesars had been reported to be interested in dropping its power service with NV Energy earlier this year, it had not previously made a formal request with the commission. 

Caesars made two separate filings with the commission: One for its northern Nevada facilities that purchase electricity and service from Sierra Pacific Power Co. and one for its southern Nevada facilities that use Nevada Power Co., both of which are NV Energy electric utility subsidiaries. In the filings, Caesars said it plans to switch facilities in both regions to power supplied from Tenaska Power Services Co. 

Caesars did not immediately return a request for comment on the filing Nov. 30. 

After reportedly paying tens of millions of dollars in exit fees assessed by the utility commission, MGM and Wynn ceased purchasing power from NV Energy on Oct. 1, with MGM also going to Tenaska; Wynn signed a power contract with Exelon Corp. Las Vegas Sands ultimately chose not to terminate their power sales with the utility, likely due to the millions in fees tied to doing so.

Both MGM and Wynn still use NV Energy's wires for power delivery. NV Energy is a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Earlier in the year, it was reported that another Nevada casino — the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno — is also asking state regulators for permission to stop buying power from the company. Las Vegas-based data center company Switch has filed suit against NV Energy and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission alleging deceptive trade practices, fraud, civil conspiracy, conspiracy to commit fraud, negligence and gross negligence related to the PUC's 2015 decision to reject Switch's request to stop buying power from the utility. 

More recently, voters in Nevada on Nov. 8 approved a ballot initiative backed by Switch and the Las Vegas Sands casino called the Energy Choice Initiative, aimed at "breaking up the monopoly" of NV Energy. 

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