Study: New power plant would cost ratepayers hundreds of millions

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Contact Victor Joecks, 702-222-0642

LAS VEGAS — NV Energy’s proposal to build a new 706 MW natural gas plant would cost ratepayers $115 million in 2020 and over $600 million from 2020-2025. That’s the findings of an economic analysis of the plan released today by the Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Entitled “Power plant proposal would increase power prices in Nevada,” the study finds the higher electricity rates would reduce employment by 1,614 jobs in 2020 by increasing power rates by 3.2 percent. Those rate increases would cost the average consumer an additional $31 a year and the average industrial rate payer $9,970 a year.

Authored by David G. Tuerck and Paul Bachman, economists with the Beacon Hill Institute, the study also examines the impact of 2013’s SB123, including how it was modified by AB498 during the last legislative session.

 “NV Energy’s current proposal to build a new power plant should not be considered in a vacuum,” said Bachman. “Without SB123’s order to shut down cheap and reliable coal power plants, no new natural gas plant would even be under consideration.

“This economic analysis examines the cost to consumers of building a new natural-gas power plant by first examining the impact of SB123 and AB498 on electricity prices and Nevada’s economy.”

With a new power plant, Tuerck and Bachman find that SB123, as modified by AB498, will cost consumers $206 million in 2020, destroying 2,925 jobs in Nevada.

Without building the new power plant, SB123, as modified by AB498, will cost consumers $91 million in 2020, eliminating 1,311 jobs.

 “Unfortunately, the PUC can’t undo all the damage caused by Carson City politicians,” said Bachman. “The decision to build or not build a new 706 MW gas-fired power, however, does give the commission the ability to mitigate some of the expensive mandates forced on consumers by SB123 and AB498.”

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