Cooperative business accord reached by Nevada power, water authorities

Action by Nevada Power Company, Colorado River Commission and Southern Nevada Water Authority to end 2-1/2 year feud is expected to benefit customers locally and statewide...

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 10, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Nevada Power Company and its parent company Sierra Pacific Resources, the Colorado River Commission (CRC) and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) have agreed to work under a cooperative business accord, officials announced today.

The agreement will not affect any of the entities' autonomy, but rather will provide more reliability, efficiency and value in the delivery of essential water and power services to the public.

Subject to approval by the entities' respective boards and certain governmental authorities, the accord will allow Nevada Power, CRC and SNWA to collaborate on mutually beneficial initiatives while focusing on their primary missions of providing reliable electricity and water supplies for their customers. It also resolves outstanding issues among the entities.

"Having reliable water and power supplies is critical to this community's continued prosperity," said Rory Reid, Clark County Commission chairman and SNWA vice chair. "This accord allows the entities involved to capitalize on the kinds of things they should be doing together to maximize value to their organizations and the community."

"This agreement not only provides immediate and future opportunities that could benefit our customers, but also allows each of our organizations to more fully concentrate on what we do best," said Walter Higgins, chairman and chief executive officer of both Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Resources. "Water and power are often interdependent and we can meld these dependencies for the benefit of all."

"Nowhere in the country is the power and water more critical than in the desert," said Patricia Mulroy, general manager of SNWA. "The economic prosperity and sustainability of this community are absolutely dependent on the success of these organizations. For the good of the community, for the good of the state, the time is now for a renewed business relationship."

"This accord is the result of selfless commitment to collaboration on the part of all of the participants who looked beyond what has been to what can be," said Richard Bunker, chairman, Colorado River Commission.

Highlights of the cooperative agreement include:
* Nevada Power will enter into a long-term agreement to operate SNWA's interest in Silverhawk Power Plant, located 35 miles northeast of Las Vegas. In exchange, the SNWA will receive a firm energy supply at a predictable price. SNWA will retain its 25% ownership in the plant;
* Nevada Power will provide energy scheduling and balancing services to the SNWA and CRC;
* Nevada Power, CRC and SNWA will work together to develop needed electric facilities for new water facilities, as well as on water resources required for electric generation;
* Nevada Power will collaborate with the SNWA to facilitate requested energy load departures for the SNWA and its member agencies under existing law.
* CRC will continue to focus on managing state hydropower resources, managing energy activities for its existing customers and continuing its role in water matters regarding the Colorado River.
* Regular meetings involving senior management of the three organizations will be held to communicate and coordinate issues among the parties.

The SNWA is a regional agency that manages water conservation, water quality and water resources. Member agencies are: Big Bend Water District (Laughlin), the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City, the Clark County Water Reclamation District and the Las Vegas Valley Water District.

The Colorado River Commission is a state agency responsible for acquisition, management and protection of all of Nevada's water and hydropower resources from the Colorado River and for meeting the electric power needs of its wholesale and retail customers.

Nevada Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources, is a regulated public utility engaged in the distribution, transmission, generation, purchase and sale of electric energy in southern Nevada. The company provides electricity to about 725,000 residential and business customers in a 4,500-square-mile service area.

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