LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) – Just when you thought you were saving money by using less electricity, it turns out you may end up forking out more money to NV Energy.
The utility says it needs extra money from you to make up profits lost to conservation.
In its application, NV Energy justifies its request by saying conservation programs it offers undermine the company's ability to recover its operating costs.
But according to the state's consumer advocates, NV Energy is coming off a successful and profitable summer, so they say the company should not ask for more money than what it really needs.
“We've experienced increases in general rate, we need to look hard at those chances where we don't need to increase rates,” said consumer advocate Eric Witkoski. “We think this is an example of that.”
Witkoski's job is to protect your wallet.
He says NV Energy is trying to pull a few more dollars from it than what's necessary. The utility's latest request to the Public Utilities Commission asks for at least $9 million from rates.
NV Energy's application explains they need the money to ensure they're getting a fair return on the energy efficiency programs they offer you.
“There's the refrigeration program, light recycle program, various programs,” he said. “There's associated losses associated with them.”
Under state law, if NV Energy earns less because you're saving more with energy-efficient programs, they can turn around and charge you more to recoup those costs.
Witkoski said this law need not apply this year.
He said NV Energy scored upwards of $40 million during the long hot summer as customers used more than enough energy to cover the utility's costs.
“Because they had tremendous sales this summer ran $40 million in excess, we believe they don't need this additional $9 million,” he said.
The public utilities commission will have the final say. They'll hear from consumer advocates and NV Energy on Thursday.