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Nevada regulators OK NV Energy sale to Warren Buffett company

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Nati Harnik / AP

In this May 2, 2011, file photo, Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, gestures during an interview in Omaha, Neb.

Updated Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 | 3:25 p.m.

Nevada utility regulators have given their stamp of approval for the sale of the state's largest electric utility to a company owned by billionaire Warren Buffett.

The Public Utilities Commission on Monday approved the $5.6 billion deal for Buffett's MidAmerican Energy to buy NV Energy Inc.

Commissioners adopted an order submitted last week by PUC Chairwoman Alaina Burtenshaw supporting the buyout and concluding it was in the public's interest.

The deal still requires approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is expected to be finalized early next year.

Protests were lodged by some consumers, who said they feared the sale would result in higher bills for customers and urged the commission not to be a “lapdog” of big business.

When the deal is completed, a $20 million credit will be applied to the bills of customers. That will pencil out to $13 for residents in the Las Vegas area and $7 for consumers in Northern Nevada. The credit will show up on monthly bills.

NV Energy has 2.4 million customers and is the parent company of Nevada Power Co. in Las Vegas and Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada. Sierra Pacific also provides natural gas to some customers.

Las Vegas Sun reporter Cy Ryan and Associated Press reporter Sandra Chereb contributed to this report.

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