Proposal Cuts Nevada Utility Request To Recoup Enron Payments

A proposed Nevada Public Utilities Commission order would give Sierra Pacific Power Co. only $3.1 million of the $22.6 million it wanted from electricity customers to help cover a settlement with Enron Corp. over disputed power contracts.

The PUC is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the proposed order, which provides that Sierra could get $2.8 million of the money from its northern Nevada customers and $340,466 from Barrick gold mines that get power from the Reno-based utility.

A draft of the order notes that it's not final and could be "substantially revised" at the upcoming PUC meeting.

Sierra's $22.6 million request represented settlement costs plus legal fees to be collected as part of an overall $90 million settlement by Sierra and its Las Vegas-based sister utility, Nevada Power Co., to end a dispute with now-bankrupt Enron dating to 2002.

The state's consumer advocate for utility customers challenged the plan on grounds it stems from imprudent power-purchasing by Sierra during the Western energy crisis.