Sierra Pacific Seeks Natural Gas Price Hike

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Sierra Pacific Power Co. is seeking approval for an average 5.3 percent increase in natural gas rates for its 125,000 customers in the Reno area.

For the typical residential customer, the $7 million increase would mean $3 more a month if approved this fall by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission.

The Reno-based utility said energy costs have risen and are expected to remain high through the summer.

"We're requesting to recover the costs we've already spent for our customers and to adjust our rates to a more realistic level compared to current market prices," said Mary Simmons, vice president of rates and regulation.

Carla Wade, 40, of Sparks, who has struggled to pay utility bills for her mobile home, questioned the proposed increase.

"That's a lot of money," she said. "I'm going to try to sell my trailer. That's my solution - go to a warmer climate."