weather icon Partly Cloudy

PUCN outlines plan to investigate alternative rate-making mechanisms for electric utilities

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada recently outlined a proposal for an alternative to traditional rate making for electric utilities.

According to a PUCN press release, the docket was opened in response to Nevada Senate Bill 300 that requires the commission to adopt regulations for an electric utility to apply for an alternative rate-making plan.

Peter Kostes, a PUCN spokesman, said that the bill sponsor indicated that alternative rate making would position Nevada to create “a flexible and nimble“ regulatory environment necessary to develop a modern, reliable and efficient electrical grid.

Electric vehicle charging, distributed generation like solar and rooftop solar, energy storage and integration of large amounts of renewable energy are the future for Nevada, and that future must be embraced by adoption of the bill, according to Senate Bill 300’s sponsor.

“SB 300 states the types of alternative ratemaking mechanisms electric utilities may be permitted to request as part of an application for alternative rate making. Those mechanisms include, but are not limited to performance-based rates, decoupling, earnings sharing, formula rates and subscription pricing,” Kostes said in an email.

Alternative rate-making mechanisms represent a departure from from the usual cost-of-service rate making that the PUCN and most other state utility commissions typically apply.

Any new regulations approved in Docket No. 19-06008 would apply only to electric utilities jurisdictional to the PUCN for rate-making purposes and the customers they serve, which are Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company, both doing business as NV Energy, Kostes said.

The electric utility industry is changing rapidly and, as a result, regulators across the country are evaluating whether changes in rate making are required to align regulatory mechanisms with industry changes, according to the press release.

Not all rural areas of Nevada are served by NV Energy. For example, the southern part of Nye County that includes Pahrump and Beatty are served by Valley Electric, while the north-central and northwestern part of the county are serviced by NV Energy.

Senate Bill 300 includes a menu of possible alternative rate-making mechanisms including performance-based rates, subscription-based pricing and formula rates, decoupling and earnings-sharing mechanisms and multilayer rate plans.

Since opening the docket, the PUCN has solicited three rounds of stakeholder comments and led four workshops between June 6, 2019 and Feb. 18. Moving forward, the docket will continue in two phases.

The PUCN competitively selected Rocky Mountain Institute and the Regulatory Assistance Project to assist the PUCN in the next phases of this rule-making docket.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Face mask backers urge Board of Regents to make them mandatory for all

Proponents of face masks on college campuses this fall on Friday urged the Nevada Board of Regents to go beyond a mandate for employees OK’d by the Clark County Commission.

Adam Sullivan confirmed as Nevada State Engineer

After serving as “acting” Nevada state engineer and administrator of the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) for the past seven months, Adam Sullivan has now been confirmed in those positions, with his official appointment reported in a press release issued Tuesday, July 20.

Pahrump Back to School Fair set for July 31

It is once again that time of year when parents and students must turn their thoughts to the coming school term and begin preparing for another nine months of academic endeavors. With the 2021-2022 school year set to begin on Tuesday, August 10 in Nye County, in an effort to help ensure that area families are ready to send their children back to the classroom, be it virtual or in person, the NyE Communities Coalition is now gearing up for its annual Back to School Fair.

Nye County opposing NASA land proposal

In Nevada, mining is a major industry, bringing in millions of dollars in taxes every year and employing thousands of workers in high-paying positions that help support the local economy but much of the mining operations in the Silver State rely on access to federally controlled lands.

Pahrump Lions take audiences on emotional journey with “Love Letters”

It was an emotional roller-coaster ride of a weekend for audiences at Sanders Family Winery, who were treated to two nights of theatrical entertainment from the Pahrump Valley Lions Club with the A.R. Gurney play “Love Letters”.

Suspect arrested after armed standoff

At least three Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies are recovering from minor injuries after a tense standoff with an armed suspect.

Conversations with Nevada AG Ford continues

Some of the country’s most vulnerable populations are children and the elderly and it is just these populations that will be the subject of the next segment in a series of public outreach sessions from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, which will continue its Conversations with AG Ford initiative this coming Wednesday.

Nevada riding hot streak of record gaming numbers. But will it last?

The statewide gaming win topped $1 billion for March, April and May — with May setting an all-time monthly high as casinos brought in $1.23 billion. COVID-19, however, remains a concern.