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Utility Rate Increases Strain Nevada Pocketbooks

The Problem – Excessive Utility Rate Increases

With unemployment still high at 12.4% statewide, foreclosure rates still topping the nation, and home values continuing to drop; many Nevadans struggle to make ends meet. And yet, in February the state's largest power company filed another utility rate increase for residential users asking for a 5.3% increase in Southern Nevada and 2.5% in Northern Nevada. That same month, the company announced year-end financials. From 2009 to 2010 they’d had an increase in net income of $44 million.

The Solution – More Public Involvement

AARP and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection provided information to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) on behalf of residential utility customers. AARP Nevada asked that the Public Utilities Commission consider the effects and consequences of increasing utility bills for Nevadans already strapped during the economic downturn. We believe the efforts of the two organizations led the PUC to cut that rate increase request in half.

AARP is often the lone consumer voice at these rate hearings. The subject matter is dry, they are in the middle of the day…there are lots of reasons why public attendance is poor. We are fighting to save you money on your utility bills. We are challenging utility rate increase proposals to ensure that utility companies receive only what is fair and reasonable – and not a dime more. And we need your help.

We’re asking people, members and nonmembers alike to sign up for AARP Nevada’s Utilities Watchdog Team. Once on the Team you’ll get periodic emails on utilities issues—tips on how to reduce your energy costs, invitations to contact the PUC commissioners, and other resources that will help you share AARP’s information on energy costs.

Why is this issue important now

NV Energy filed a rate case with a large rate increase in July. The PUC will hold hearings to decide whether to approve the rate increase in the fall. AARP Nevada wants to build member understanding of our involvement so that when October’s public hearings roll around, we’ve got a strong group of committed activists. Please sign up today!