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Proposed NV Energy hikes could compound accelerating regional cost of living

A lineman wearing a vest that reads "NV Energy" on the back, looks up at a utility pole in a forested neighborhood.
NV Energy
A still from a June 2022 NV Energy YouTube video shows linemen working on a neighborhood utility pole.

NV Energy has asked the Public Utilities Commission for a general rate increase for Northern Nevada. It's the first request for a rate increase in 12 years. This news arrives at a difficult moment for customers who are already struggling with the rising cost of living.

NV Energy President Doug Cannon said the company is seeking an increase of nearly 10% that would add about $9 to the average customer’s monthly bill. In a YouTube announcement, Cannon said the increase is necessary to keep up with Nevada’s population growth.

“Northern Nevada’s unprecedented growth is exciting,” he said. “We’re dedicated to developing cleaner energy and providing service that you can count on.”

Brian Bonnenfant is a market research expert with UNR’s Center for Regional Studies. He said NV Energy needs to adjust its rates to meet the needs of the environment and the changing regional economy.

“They’re in the middle of their Greenlink development to provide another significant transmission line across the state to feed the renewables into [the system],” Bonnenfant said. “I’m sure Greenlink has a lot of infrastructure costs to it, and I’m sure those are getting hit by the supply chain shortages.”

Bonnenfant placed the possible energy hike into a larger context of international economic hardship.

“It’s definitely a global issue," he added. "It’s pandemic-driven, of course, and now with the geopolitical issues and war, which is going to exacerbate food and fuel prices. So, the energy prices are definitely going to further the pain. We’re just getting hit with that double whammy, and with no end in sight.”

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, which sets all rates charged by NV Energy, will schedule a consumer session to seek public input on NV Energy’s general rate review. They told KOLO 8 News Now that the meeting will be scheduled for later this summer.

KUNR reached out to NV Energy for comment but the organization did not respond in time for this story.

As a note of disclosure, NV Energy is a financial supporter of KUNR Public Radio.

This story was produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Shelby Herbert is a graduate student of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. She’s a reporter for the Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D., Project for Visualizing Science and covers regional science news.
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