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Vea broadens horizons, opens new office in Las Vegas

Valley Electric Association, which has already been campaigning in a statewide advertising program and branched out to serve major federal facilities, is opening a small satellite office in Las Vegas.

A Las Vegas publication disclosed VEA signed a lease for 6,500 square feet in the Red Rock Business Center between Russell and Sunset roads, just east of the 215 beltway. Published reports said it was supposed to open early next year. It’s also close to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission offices. A bill that would have placed VEA under Public Utilities Commission oversight in the last state legislative session was vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

During the legislative hearing on that bill last year, Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Director Danny Thompson criticized a statewide VEA advertising campaign. VEA Chief Executive Officer Tom Husted told members at annual meetings last year the ad campaign is designed to educate legislators, many of whom were unfamiliar with the cooperative, including former State Senate Majority Leader and now Congressman Steven Horsford, D-Nev.

In an emailed response to an inquiry from the Pahrump Valley Times, VEA said the office will help with a number of functions:

• Facilitate meetings with business development companies, legislators, regulators and other parties the co-op works with;

• Build awareness about VEA within the state’s business and political communities;

• Allow VEA to proactively foster business relationships.

During comments to the board of directors Friday, VEA Chief Executive Officer Tom Husted mentioned only that they were still working on plans for the Las Vegas Business Center office, but didn’t elaborate beyond that.

NV Energy contested contracts landed by Valley Electric to serve federal facilities. In September, 2012, VEA was awarded a five-year, $61.6 million contract to provide electrical service to the Nevada National Security Site and a 50-year, $23.6 million contract to purchase, operate and maintain the electrical distribution system at Creech Air Force Base. NV Energy filed a protest over the Creech AFB contract and asked the Public Utilities Commission for a declaratory order that an “exit fee” had to be paid to them before VEA took over providing power to the NNSS, both were denied.

Valley Electric is also in the midst of a $10 million campus expansion project at its offices on Highway 372 in Pahrump that includes construction of a new 33,374-square-foot building for the operations, dispatch and engineering department.

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