State Reduces Nevada Utility Request to Recoup Enron Payments

A Sierra Pacific Power request for nearly $23 million from electricity customers, to help cover a settlement with Enron over disputed power contracts, was cut to just over $3 million by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

PUC Chairwoman Jo Ann Kelly said the order was fair and "closes the book" on a tough period for Sierra Pacific, its shareholders and its 360,000 customers in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California.

Sierra's million request represented settlement costs plus legal fees to be collected over four years 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 of 2000 and 2001.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)