Monday, April 22, 2013 | 6:30 p.m.
NV Energy has lost its fight to retain the Nevada National Security Site as one of its biggest customers.
The state Public Utilities Commission has ruled the Valley Electric Association can start serving the needs of the former Nevada Test Site, which is about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
NV Energy, formerly Nevada Power, supplied the site for some 50 years. But the U.S. Energy Department decided to switch all of its power needs to Valley Electric, saving more than $200,000 a year.
The PUC on Friday ruled NV Energy “does not possess an exclusive right to serve the test site …”
It said the Department of Energy “is free to take electric service from VEA at any time.”
The Energy Department decided to get all of its electric service from the nonprofit Valley Electric of Pahrump. It signed a five-year contract with Valley Electric for $61.6 million.
NV Energy challenged the cancellation of its contract and sought to force the Energy Department to pay an exit fee.
Tom Husted, chief operating officer of Valley Electric, issued a statement Monday saying the challenge by NV Energy “was a retaliatory measure” and his association won the contact through an open bidding process.
Valley Electric has 45,000 customers and is building a 5.3-mile power line to supply the additional service to the site.
Both electric companies served a portion of the test site.
NV Energy argued that cancelling its contract would mean other customers will pay the cost of the facilities built to supply the electricity to the site.