Nevada Utility Chief Supports Casino Energy Plans

NV Energy CEO Paul Cadill says he understands why Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts International want to leave the utility, but the process to do so makes it very difficult due to potential impacts on local residential customers. In the meantime, he says the utility is working to become more cost-competitive.

The head of Nevada’s largest utility, NV Energy, says he supports efforts large casinos are making to find alternative energy sources but says the process for leaving the utility makes it very difficult.

NV Energy President and CEO Paul Cadill said he understands why Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts International have applied for permission to leave the utility in favor of using more affordable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy alternatives, such as solar power and natural gas.

But the utility is demanding a combined $131 million in termination fees from the three casino corporations to do so. The fees would offset costs that the utility would have to pass on to other customers, most of them residential, if it loses business from the three casino companies, which own many of the largest casinos and hotels in Nevada.

“NV Energy is learning from them what is needed to compete for business,” Caudill told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “If Wynn or any of the other … applicants decide to take energy from an alternative provider, we’ll do all we can to help the transition and continue to provide transmission and distribution reliability that they have come to expect from NV Energy as an industry leader.”

For Wynn to leave, the utility wants between $16 million and $28 million in advance and says the loss of Wynn’s business would add between $1 million and $2 million per year to residential customers’ power bills.

Wynn officials disagree with the estimates and say the casino’s exit would not have a significant impact on the utility or its electrical service to others.