Emergency Energy Bill Called a Decisive Step To Protect Nevada Consumers From Western Power Crisis

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Sierra Pacific Resources

    LAS VEGAS, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Saying that Nevada has taken the kind
 of decisive step required by the western energy crisis, Nevada utility
 officials today applauded the Nevada Legislature and Governor Kenny Guinn for
 their rapid action on emergency legislation that will assure the continued
 creditworthiness of the utilities while protecting consumers from unexpected
 rate hikes.
     The Nevada Legislature today passed Assembly Bill 369, which allows the
 utilities to recover their soaring costs for wholesale power over time.  The
 bill's deferred accounting method eases fears of rate hikes during the summer
 but assures lenders, investors and power suppliers the utilities will continue
 to meet their financial obligations.  The bill also repeals electric
 deregulation in Nevada and places a moratorium on the sale of power plants in
 the state.
     "This was a bold move by the legislature and the governor to focus on the
 real problem that threatened every consumer and business in Nevada," said Walt
 Higgins, chairman, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE:   SRP),
 the parent company for the state's two largest utilities, Sierra Pacific Power
 and Nevada Power Company.  "There were many investors, power developers,
 citizens and potential business prospects who have been waiting to see if
 Nevada would deal with this issue -- and they now have their answer."
     "This is an elegant solution that protects consumers from sticker shock by
 delaying and spreading any increases out over time, while offering our
 business partners the immediate assurance that our creditworthiness is
 strong," Higgins added.
     The measure passed both the Senate and Assembly today and was signed into
 law by Governor Guinn.  As an emergency measure, it is effective immediately.
 Under the provisions of the legislation, rates would be continued at their
 April 1, 2001, levels, reflecting all recent increases to date, and remain
 stable until early next year, at which time they would be adjusted to reflect
 the actual costs of wholesale power and fuel over that period.  If wholesale
 costs remain high, the legislation allows for the rates to be spread out over
 several years.
     "We're gratified by the action taken by the Legislature and Governor on
 behalf of consumers in Nevada," Higgins said.
 
     Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company
 whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility
 for southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility
 for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California, and a
 natural gas and water distributor in the Reno-Sparks area.  Other subsidiaries
 include the Tuscarora Gas Pipeline Company, which owns 50% interest in an
 interstate natural gas transmission partnership and Sierra Pacific
 Communications, a telecommunications company.
 
 

SOURCE Sierra Pacific Resources
    LAS VEGAS, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Saying that Nevada has taken the kind
 of decisive step required by the western energy crisis, Nevada utility
 officials today applauded the Nevada Legislature and Governor Kenny Guinn for
 their rapid action on emergency legislation that will assure the continued
 creditworthiness of the utilities while protecting consumers from unexpected
 rate hikes.
     The Nevada Legislature today passed Assembly Bill 369, which allows the
 utilities to recover their soaring costs for wholesale power over time.  The
 bill's deferred accounting method eases fears of rate hikes during the summer
 but assures lenders, investors and power suppliers the utilities will continue
 to meet their financial obligations.  The bill also repeals electric
 deregulation in Nevada and places a moratorium on the sale of power plants in
 the state.
     "This was a bold move by the legislature and the governor to focus on the
 real problem that threatened every consumer and business in Nevada," said Walt
 Higgins, chairman, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE:   SRP),
 the parent company for the state's two largest utilities, Sierra Pacific Power
 and Nevada Power Company.  "There were many investors, power developers,
 citizens and potential business prospects who have been waiting to see if
 Nevada would deal with this issue -- and they now have their answer."
     "This is an elegant solution that protects consumers from sticker shock by
 delaying and spreading any increases out over time, while offering our
 business partners the immediate assurance that our creditworthiness is
 strong," Higgins added.
     The measure passed both the Senate and Assembly today and was signed into
 law by Governor Guinn.  As an emergency measure, it is effective immediately.
 Under the provisions of the legislation, rates would be continued at their
 April 1, 2001, levels, reflecting all recent increases to date, and remain
 stable until early next year, at which time they would be adjusted to reflect
 the actual costs of wholesale power and fuel over that period.  If wholesale
 costs remain high, the legislation allows for the rates to be spread out over
 several years.
     "We're gratified by the action taken by the Legislature and Governor on
 behalf of consumers in Nevada," Higgins said.
 
     Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company
 whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility
 for southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility
 for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California, and a
 natural gas and water distributor in the Reno-Sparks area.  Other subsidiaries
 include the Tuscarora Gas Pipeline Company, which owns 50% interest in an
 interstate natural gas transmission partnership and Sierra Pacific
 Communications, a telecommunications company.
 
 SOURCE  Sierra Pacific Resources