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NV Energy Customers Will Now Pay For Millions In Employee Bonuses

NV Energy to recoup $5.7 million cost of employee bonuses from customers

By Megan Barth, February 14, 2024 12:52 pm

NV Energy customers across the Silver State have been suffering from sticker shock caused by skyrocketing energy bills. Many customers report that their monthly bills have doubled, if not tripled, in the past 12 months.

According to NV Energy, the price of natural gas increased by more than 70 percent and peaked in January 2023. NV Energy’s Vice President of Customer Operations, Antoine Tilmon, said the reason for the high costs is that the utility company is recovering pricey fuel costs spread out over 12 months.

“NV Energy pays the producers power that costs what it takes us to produce power,” Torres said. “We then pass that to our customers, and that fuel cost that we incurred is being passed through the mechanism that we have today.”

Adding to the rising price of natural gas, a 3.3 percent rate hike was approved in 2023 by the Public Utilities Commission. The rate hike will “help pay to upgrade power lines and make other improvements to the system across southern Nevada.”

In a report from Dana Gentry of the Nevada Current, NV Energy customers can now expect additional increases to their bill in order to pay for employee bonuses:

If Southern Nevadans expect better customer service from NV Energy, they’ll have to pay for it. That’s the message from Public Utilities Commissioner Randy Brown, who led the charge to have ratepayers, rather than shareholders, foot the bill for the utility’s employee bonuses.

PUC Commissioner Andy Brown (Photo: PUC)

Brown, the only new member of the PUC appointed by Gov. Joe Lombardo, departed from the Commission’s precedent of requiring ratepayers and NV Energy to share in the cost of company bonuses, and instead placed the entire burden on customers, even though NV Energy’s own evaluation determined employee performance fell short of the company’s goals.

Commission chairwoman Hayley Williamson voted Tuesday with Brown, while Commissioner Tammy Cordova dissented. Cordova supported two motions for reconsideration of the PUC’s December ruling allowing NV Energy to recoup the $5.7 million cost of the bonuses from customers.

Brown said denying NV Energy the opportunity to pass the cost on to ratepayers amounts to “what I believe to be mixed messaging to the regulated utility by disallowing approximately 50% of the short term incentive pay or STIP (short-term incentive plan) while also criticizing the utility for providing poor customer service during a time with an extremely difficult labor market.”

But wait, it gets worse. Not only with NV Energy customers be responsible for employee bonuses, but Nevadans will also be on the hook for the company’s transition to “renewable energy.”

This shift to renewables by NV Energy is due to Nevadans passing a constitutional amendment, designed and introduced by then-Democratic state senator and solar entrepreneur Senator Chris Brooks, to require electric utilities to acquire 50 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

In August 2023, The Globe warned of increasing energy costs:

Nevadans should prepare for increasing energy bills to fund new transmission lines and renewable energy needs for NV Energy as the company will convert the last coal plant in Nevada to natural gas and invest $1.8 billion to increase solar capacity to power the Sphere and reduce NV Energy’s carbon emissions. Coal generated power in Nevada is expected to end by May 2026.

This proposal from NV Energy comes on the heels of an announcement between Sphere Entertainment and NV Energy whereby the companies reached a 25-year agreement to provide the highest amount of dedicated solar power to the new venue making the Sphere “a model for renewable energy use by entertainment venues around the country,” according to Sphere.

Many Nevadans can’t afford a ticket to a show at the Sphere due to the fact that their utility bills continue to skyrocket in order to power the orb and pay for power lines, renewable energy, and now, employee bonuses.


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