Caesars Entertainment Corp. will soon be shopping the wholesale market for its power supplies, as the company has agreed to ante up $44 million to no longer be a retail customer of NV Energy, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In addition to the $44 million exit fee, Caesars has also reportedly agreed to pay NV Energy’s Northern Nevada company, Sierra Pacific, $3.5 million to also leave as a retail customer, according to a stipulation filed with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (NPUC) on Thursday. In 2008, Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power began doing business as NV Energy.
If the NPUC approves the agreement, the $44 million exit fee will be paid to NV Energy’s Southern Nevada company over a period of six years, in 72 equal installments, according to the news agency. If successful, Caesars will join casino giants Wynn Resorts Ltd and MGM Resorts International, which left the Nevada utility on October 1, 2016. MGM, Wynn Las Vegas, and Las Vegas Sands Corp., three of the largest casino operators in Las Vegas, won regulatory approval in 2015 to discontinue the services of NV Energy if they paid almost $127 million in impact fees.
In November Caesars filed exit applications with the NPUC for its Southern and Northern Nevada properties. The company reportedly said that that it’s ready to leave the utility as early as September 1st.
The NPUC assesses the fees so that NV Energy’s remaining customers are not forced to pay increased rates to allow recovery of costs already incurred to provide reliable electric service to the exiting companies. Commission approved fees totaled $15.7 million and $86.9 million for MGM.
The agreement also reportedly includes Caesars paying a share of the cost of remediation and decommissioning the utility’s coal-fired Reid Gardner plant at Moapa, which is expected to shut down in March sometime; as well as the Navajo Generating Station located near Page, Arizona, which Nevada Power has an ownership interest.
A 2001 law permitting large customers to purchase electricity from a third party, as long as the NPUC approves and exit fees are paid, enables the casinos’ requests to exit NV Energy. Since that time, gas and solar plants have been built by NV Energy and it is now almost completely self-sustainable. Rates have increased due to the costs of those facilities.
Caesars Southern Nevada operations include multiple properties, along with its three in Northern Nevada, which include Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Reno, and Harveys Lake Tahoe.