The Raiders, who are not yet a customer of NV Energy, don’t want to be.
According to a filing with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada last Friday, LV Stadium Events Company, LLC — parenthetically referred to as “the ‘Raiders'” in the filing — has applied to purchase energy outside of NV Energy, under a 2001 Nevada law that allows large energy customers to exit the regulated utility.
Departure from NV Energy requires approval from the Commission.
Major energy consumers like Wynn, Switch, MGM, and the Peppermill in Reno have left NV Energy, after paying millions of dollars in exit fees to NV Energy. Las Vegas Sands attempted to exit NV Energy, but balked, saying the exit fees were too high.
The exit fees are intended to protect residential consumers and small businesses from being saddled with higher charges. After large customers leave, the utility still must pay to maintain transmission infrastructure and cover other costs incurred as the state’s primary provider of electricity.
The Raiders do not want to pay exit fees, since they’re not a customer.
“This information has no bearing on the financial impact of the Raiders’ departure from NV Energy’s system on remaining ratepayers given the Las Vegas Stadium is still under construction and not yet completed,” the filing states.
The Raiders’ filing comes amid the campaign over Question 3, the “Energy Choice” ballot initiative that would amend the Nevada Constitution to allow companies to enter Nevada and compete with NV Energy.
Publicly, the Raiders have not announced support for the ballot question, but some of the NFL team’s staunchest allies, including Laborers Local 872, forcefully support Question 3. The Raiders filing with the PUC said the Raiders believe it is “in the public interest to allow new Nevada companies fair opportunities for growth and economic development without unnecessary pause or delay.”
The Las Vegas Stadium currently is not connected to NV Energy — the construction project takes electricity through the general contractor, McDonald Corano. Las Vegas Stadium Company — StadCo — will be the electricity purchaser when the stadium, made possible by a $750 million subsidy from taxpayers, is complete.
In filing materials, the Raiders and StadCo assure state officials that the stadium’s power demand will exceed the minimum required under state law to exit NV Energy.
Under Nevada law allowing large customers to exit the utility, applicants must identify providers. The Raiders are requesting a waiver from that requirement since they’re not a customer yet. The Raiders say they have issued requests for proposals to potential providers, and intend to have their suppliers identified by April 1, 2019.
“The Raiders intend to acquire firm energy from the provider that will meet the requirements” of state law, the filing says. “Upon exiting, the Raiders have no intention of taking service directly from generation assets that are owned by contractually committed to NV Energy.”
The filing says the Raiders will identify their ultimate energy provider once the final selection is made and “believe that the public has an interest in ultimately knowing who the Raiders’ provider is, where those resources are located, and what type of resources those are.”
In the past, the Public Utilities Commission has required companies to pay steep fees designed to protect other customers from stranded costs associated with losing large customers. The application notes that “the Raiders” are prepared to “pay its share of the taxes, fees, and account balances related to its departure” and believe there will be no effect on consumers.
But “StadCo will be seeking a $0 impact fee,” the filing says.
“Impact fee” is the technical term for exit fees, said Hayley Williamson, assistant general counsel the PUC.
Jeremy Aguero, the lead staff to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority said the authority was not consulted about the Raiders decision not to join NV Energy. He said he could not speak as to whether stadium authority board members supported the decision as they have not discussed the issue publicly.
“No information was provided to the stadium authority prior to the application,” Aguero said.
Updated with additional comments from the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.