Tuesday, June 19, 2012 | 4:11 p.m.
CARSON CITY — NV Energy is proposing to raise its rates by 1.8 percent and imposing a fee for removing smart meters, angering some customers.
“Our electric rates are the second highest among the seven western states,” said Michael Hazard of Las Vegas. “I’m opposed to any new fee.”
His sentiment was expressed by more than 20 speakers at a prehearing conference by the state Public Utility Commission on Tuesday.
NV Energy has filed an application to charge customers $100 to remove the smart meter and replace it with an electric digital meter, according to the state Bureau of Consumer Protection. There also would be an $11 monthly fee to read the digital meters.
NV Energy already has installed the smart meters in Clark County and they also are being installed in businesses and homes in Northern Nevada.
“We are forced to use NV Energy” because of its monopoly status, said Rita Hickey of Las Vegas. “They are forcing is to use smart meters or pay a fine.”
She said the utility should give customers a choice of which meter they want without imposing a charge.
NV Energy has also petitioned the PUC to increase rates to offset higher costs in 2011 for fuel and purchased power.
In the Las Vegas area, the average monthly residential bill would rise $2.58, or 1.83 percent. In Northern Nevada, electric bills would drop 1.1 percent.