Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Without dissent, a legislative committee has approved a plan by the Colorado River Commission (CRC) to sell its low-cost hydropower to other users in Southern Nevada in the future.
Under a 2011 federal law, the commission would sell 95 percent of the power from Hoover and other dams on the Colorado River to its present customers for 50 years. But 5 percent would now be set aside for new customers.
Under Nevada law, the CRC cannot serve new customers without coming under the jurisdiction of the state Public Utilities Commission.
The Legislative Commission on Public Lands unanimously agreed Friday to introduce a bill in the 2013 Legislative to allow the CRC to serve the additional customers without submitting an application and getting approval from its sister agency.
Jayne Harkins, executive director of the CRC, said typically the hydropower is one-half to two-thirds cheaper than the rates charged. The commission will have a public process for new potential customers to follow, she said.
The commission will set the standards and then make the allocation, probably in 2014, of the 11 megawatts that must be set aside.
Some of the current customers that receive the low-cost hydropower are NV Energy, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Basic Water Company, Boulder City, Tronox, Timet, Lincoln County Power District and the Overton Power District.
Harkins also said the Western Area Power Administration, a federal agency, will have 50 megawatts to sell among three western states, including Nevada.
The CRC want to see what Nevada entities get part of the federal share before making its allocations, Harkins said