High exit fee and concerns over price pressure on residential customers prompt Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to stay with NV Energy
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada has withdrawn its application to leave NV Energy and purchase electricity from an open market entity instead, The Nevada Independent reports. The property submitted its application in September 2018.
News about the hotel and casino resort deciding to stay with the utility emerged shortly after NV Energy called for higher impact fees for those opting to split from its service. The utility has also recently informed the Nevada Public Utilities Commission that the departure of large commercial and industrial customers could force it to increase the rates for its remaining customers.
Under a 2001 law, large power users in the state are permitted to leave NV Energy as long as they manage to convince the state’s public utilities regulator that their departure would not harm public interest. In addition, such commercial and industrial customers are required to pay an impact or exit fee to reimburse the remaining residential customers and to ensure that they would not be subjected to tariff pressure.
In a joint statement on Monday, Atlantic Casino Resort Spa and NV Energy announced that the casino resort has changed its mind and would stay with the public utility as an electric customer. Atlantis CEO John Farahi explained that over the last several months have seen the casino resort’s management “explore efficiencies in our business” and ask “NV Energy some very tough questions about how they will operate theirs [business] going forward to the benefit of all their customers.”
Mr. Farahi went on that it has become clear to them that “receiving energy services from NV Energy is the best value” for their business.
A Month after Regulatory Approval
The Reno-based casino resort opted to remain an NV Energy customer around a month after the state Public Utilities Commission approved its petition to leave the utility. Atlantis would have had to pay an impact fee of $1.76 million, if it had decided to split from NV Energy.
However, an official approval of a departure application does not obligate a company to leave. Back in 2014, casino and hospitality giant Las Vegas Sands was given regulatory nod to part ways with NV Energy and buy electricity from another provider, but the company eventually decided to stay.
Atlantis was the second Nevada casino business to withdraw its application over the past two weeks. Grand Sierra Resort also pulled out its petition and opted to remain an NV Energy user, instead.
MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment were among the major Las Vegas gaming and hospitality companies to leave NV Energy in recent years. MGM was ordered to pay an impact fee of $86.9 million in 2016, while Caesars was charged a $47.5 million fee in 2017.
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