Below are definitions of some terms commonly used at the PUCN in alphabetical order.
Ad Hoc Rulemaking: The adoption of a regulation without adhering to the
Nevada Administrative Procedure Act's formal rulemaking requirements.
Administrative Procedure Act: Chapter 233B of the
Nevada Revised Statutes, which establishes minimum procedural requirements for the regulation-making and adjudication procedure of all state agencies and for judicial review of both functions.
Agenda Meeting: Regular public meeting held by the PUCN pursuant to the requirements of the Open Meeting Law (NRS Chapter 241). At agenda meetings, Commissioners discuss and vote on items listed on the
of the items on the agenda is provided to the public in advance of the meeting, and items not listed on the agenda cannot be considered. A typical agenda will include both contested cases and items for which Staff has investigated and made a recommendation in a memorandum to the PUCN, commonly called consent items. Regular agenda meetings begin and end with a period for
public comment. The PUCN also holds special agenda meetings for items that are more effectively addressed separately.
Annual Rate Adjustment Application: Utilities that have been given permission by the PUCN to make quarterly rate adjustments to account for the changing price of natural gas must file annual rate adjustment applications to allow the PUCN to review the quarterly rate adjustments and the transactions and recorded costs of natural gas included in each quarterly filing.
A request for relief filed with the PUCN. The request will either be for a privilege, right, or authority under the jurisdiction of the PUCN.
Base Tariff Energy Rate (BTER):
The BTER is the rate that pays for the ongoing costs for purchased fuel and purchased power for an electric utility or for natural gas purchased for resale by a natural gas utility. It is calculated by dividing these energy costs for a recent 12-month period by the kilowatt-hours sales of an electric utility or the therm sales of a natural gas utility for the same 12-month period. (NAC 704.032)
Base Tariff General Rate (BTGR):
The BTGR is the rate that pays for a utility's operating costs, such as wages, office expenses, meters, trucks, and capital-related costs (including depreciation, taxes, and return on investment). (NAC 704.9534)
Bill Draft Request:
A bill draft request is a form of a proposed statutory change that is initially developed by Staff and submitted to the Commission for review and approval, and it is forwarded to the Legislature for adoption as law.
A briefing memo is a written memorandum prepared by a PUCN staff member (and/or member of the office of
General Counsel), regarding a specific docket, directed to the PUCN, and routed through the manager,
Staff Counsel and the
Director of Regulatory Operations (DRO). The briefing memo summarizes an application's request in the docket, the requirements for approval, the application's satisfaction of the requirements, and Staff's recommendations. If the PUCN's Commissioners accept the recommendations in the briefing memo, the docket may be resolved and closed. The briefing memo prepared by a member of the office of General Counsel makes recommendations to grant, deny or set for further proceedings a request pursuant to a Petition filed with the PUCN.
Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP):
Nevada law (NRS 228.300 - 228.390) requires the Consumer's Advocate of the Nevada Attorney General's
Bureau of Consumer Protection to intervene in certain PUCN proceedings that involve resource planning and rate changes. The Consumer's Advocate may also participate in any other proceeding concerning rates, charges, tariffs, modifications of service, or any related matter before the PUCN or any court, regulatory body, board, or commission. The Consumer's Advocate may represent the public interest or the interests of any particular class of utility customers in any such proceeding.
Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPC):
A public utility must apply for a certificate, called a
CPC, in order to begin operation as a public utility.
A person who is not a party to a proceeding that is before the Commission may be entitled to submit written comments concerning issues in the proceeding. See the Consumer Participation in PUCN Proceedings web page for more information.
Commercial Mobile Radio Service:
A mobile, interconnected service that is provided for profit and is made available to the public. (47 C.F.R. § 20.3)
Individuals appointed by the Governor to four-year, staggered terms.
NAC 703.035, a complaint is a request for relief filed with either the PUCN or the PUCN's
Division of Consumer Complaint Resolution. Complaints may be made by customers regarding the rates or services of their regulated utilities.
Compliances and Directives:
Compliance items are typically tasks that the PUCN orders participants in a docket to complete by a certain date. Evidence of having completed the task must be filed in the docket in which the order was issued. (NAC 703.796) An example of a compliance item might be an order to conduct a study on a particular issue and file the results of the study in the docket one year from the issuance of the order. A directive is also a task that a party must complete pursuant to an order of the PUCN, but the party is not required to notify the PUCN of its completion by filing anything in the docket. An example of a directive might be an instruction to a regulated utility to meet with the PUCN's Staff to discuss the regulated utility's hedging activity on a quarterly basis.
Items submitted by Staff pursuant to briefing memos with Staff's recommendations, which are generally approved as a whole without discussion at a PUCN Agenda Meeting.
Commission regulations define conservation as improvements in efficiency in the production, distribution or use of energy that result in reductions in the consumption of electric power.
Consumer Bill of Rights:
The PUCN designed the
Consumer's Bill of Rights to make it easy to obtain and continue to receive utility services. Specifically, the Consumer's Bill of Rights eliminates deposits unless customer has poor credit history; limits size of deposit and allows for installment payments; requires utilities to offer equal payment plans for budgeting purposes; requires payment plans for customers who have difficulty paying their bills; offers special protection for the elderly and handicapped; postpones service termination when health is at risk; provides third party notice prior to service termination; and allows customers to apply for service via phone or mail.
Consumer Complaint Resolution Division of the PUCN:
division within the PUCN established to receive and investigate complaints made against any public utility, to conduct appropriate investigations of practices of utility company services, and to perform such other functions as are required by law or as the PUCN deems appropriate.
Consumer Session: An
opportunity for the public to address the Commission directly regarding a public utility.
A proceeding, including but not restricted to ratemaking and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required by law to be determined by an agency after notice and an opportunity for hearing, or in which an administrative penalty may be imposed.
A formal demand for information that is typically presented to parties participating in a
docket. The data request requires delivery of answers to specific questions within a specified period of time. A data request may seek a broad spectrum of data or discrete bits of information.
Deferred Energy Accounting Adjustment (DEAA):
The DEAA is the rate that recovers the difference between the BTER revenues and the actual costs incurred for purchased fuel and purchased power for an electric utility or for natural gas purchased by a natural gas utility. The DEAA rate ensures that ratepayers pay only the actual costs for purchased fuel and purchased power for an electric utility or for natural gas purchased by a natural gas utility without any profit to the utility for these energy costs. (NAC 704.037)
Demand Side Management (DSM):
A utility's use of energy efficiency and conservation programs to reduce, or manage, the demand for utility service.
The generation of electricity that: occurs on the property of a customer of a utility; is not owned by the utility; and is ordinarily consumed locally without flowing on the transmission system of the utility.
The infrastructure between the transmission system and customers that allows utilities to deliver service directly to customers.
A record of all of the filings and proceedings related to a particular matter. The PUCN's schedule and decisions regarding a particular matter appear within the matter's
When a docket is created for a matter, the docket receives a number, which reflects the year and month when the docket was created.
Electronic Filing System:
The program used to
electronically accept certain information and fees
submitted to the PUCN. (NAC 703.044)
Electric Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS): A regulation that requires the increased production of
renewable energy sources, such as
Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC):
A telecommunication service provider that has been designated by the PUCN to receive universal service support funding.
Energy Efficiency: PUCN regulations define energy efficiency as a modification of energy use patterns resulting in the greater productive use of energy or a reduction in the consumption of electric power. (NAC 704.7802)
Information, including witness testimony, subject to cross-examination, on which the PUCN relies in making a determination. Relevant evidence is evidence that is directly related to the subject matter of a proceeding and has any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): The United States
federal agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce, and regulates the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce. FERC also reviews proposals to build interstate natural gas pipelines, natural gas storage projects, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, and FERC licenses non-federal hydropower projects.
A document formally filed with the PUCN.
General Rate Case (GRC): A
allows the PUCN to conduct a broad and detailed review of a utility's revenues, expenses, and investments to establish an approved revenue requirement that can be recovered from ratepayers. It occurs every three years for electric utilities and large water and/or sewage utilities, and occurs for gas utilities when a utility seeks a change in rates to recover increased costs of providing service. See the PUCN's General Rate Case Process fact sheet for more information.
A proceeding before the PUCN, overseen by a presiding officer (either a governor-appointed commissioner or a PUCN-appointed presiding officer), in which parties who possess direct and substantial interests in the subject of the proceeding are able to present evidence and arguments in support of their positions. Parties to a proceeding may also cross-examine other parties' witnesses.
A hearing officer is a person who is appointed by the PUCN to preside over and conduct proceedings. (NAC 703.051)
Integrated Resource Plan (IRP):
A public planning process that analyzes the costs and benefits of developing the most economical mix of utility resource options. An IRP also considers the negative environmental impact caused by the production of electricity by identifying both cost-effective energy efficiency standards and renewable energy alternatives that may be implemented to provide customers with the services they need while attempting to minimize the environmental impact at the lowest cost.
Intervener: A person who, having a direct and substantial interest in an issue, is granted privilege by a presiding officer to participate in the proceedings of a docket by filing testimony, cross examining witnesses, participating in negotiations, etc.
A mechanism through which the PUCN gathers information. In
investigatory dockets, presiding officers may hold workshops and issue procedural orders and/or notices requesting information. Based on the findings of an Investigation, a presiding officer may draft a report to be approved and issued by the full Commission.
A private company that provides utility services.
The extent of an entity's official power to make legal decisions and judgments.
Just and Reasonable Rates: A standard that balances the need for consumers to receive reliable utility services at cost-effective rates, with the need for utility companies to maintain a strong rate of return and capital infrastructure to remain financially viable, while providing cost effective service.
In some dockets, there may be a question about the law, process or requirements that surround a case. In those cases, a presiding officer may request that parties to file legal briefs. Such documents provide legal analysis to aid the presiding officer in making a determination.
Mediation: A dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques.
Net Metering: The Nevada Legislature implemented a net metering program in Nevada through the passage of
Senate Bill 255 in 1997. Net metering allows an electric customer to use energy generated by his renewable energy system (solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electric, wind, biomass, geothermal electric or hydroelectric) to offset his monthly power bills. If the renewable energy system produces more energy in a billing period than the customer uses, the customer will earn credits that are recorded on his electric bill and automatically applied in the next billing period in which the customer consumes more energy than he produces.
Contact your electric utility for more information on net metering.
Nevada Administrative Code:
regulations that have been codified by the Nevada Legislature.
Nevada Revised Statutes:
Laws passed by the Nevada Legislature. Statutes are printed as
Nevada Revised Statutes and are available online from the
Legislative Counsel Bureau. Statutes take precedence over regulations and must not conflict with the State Constitution.
NAC 703.160, the Secretary of the PUCN will cause public notice of the following: (a) An application or tariff filing involving any authorization, expansion, reduction or curtailment of services, facilities or authority, any increase in rates, fares or charges, or any change in regulations; (b) A complaint filed with the PUCN pursuant to
NAC 703.651; (c) a petition; (d) a prehearing conference; (e) a workshop; (f) a consumer session; (g) a hearing.
Open Meeting Law:
NRS 241.020, except as otherwise provided by specific statute, all meetings of public bodies must be open and public, and all persons must be permitted to attend any meeting of these public bodies. A meeting that is closed pursuant to a specific statute may only be closed to the extent specified in the statute allowing the meeting to be closed. All other portions of the meeting must be open and public, and the public body must comply with all other provisions of this chapter to the extent not specifically precluded by the specific statute. Public officers and employees responsible for these meetings shall make reasonable efforts to assist and accommodate persons with physical disabilities desiring to attend.
A command, instruction, or direction by the PUCN, generally issued in writing.
A person who is entitled to the full privileges of participation in a docket. Staff participates as a matter of right in all cases. The
Bureau of Consumer Protection
participates as a matter of right at its discretion in any case. Applicants have a right to participate. Major customers, associations, representatives of specific demographic groups, etc., may be granted a right (intervener status) to participate if the Commission or Presiding Officer determines they have standing.
Party of Record:
NAC 703.070, party of record includes "an applicant, a complainant, a petitioner, a respondent, the Commission's staff and its counsel, the Consumer's Advocate or an intervener." A commenter is not a party of record.
NAC 703.540, a pleading praying for affirmative relief, other than an application, motion, answer or complaint, must be styled a petition.
Petition for Leave to Intervene (PLTI):
NAC 703.580, any person who claims to have a direct and substantial interest in a proceeding and desires to participate in it as an intervener must file a petition for leave to intervene with the PUCN requesting an order permitting the intervention.
Petition for Reconsideration or Rehearing:
NAC 703.801, a petition for reconsideration is filed by a party after the PUCN issues an order in a docket. The petition must specifically: (a) identify each portion of the challenged order which the petitioner deems to be unlawful, unreasonable or based on erroneous conclusions of law or mistaken facts; and (b) cite those portions of the record, the law or the rules of the PUCN which support the allegations in the petition. The petition may not contain additional evidentiary matter or require the submission or taking of evidence.
NAC 703.085, pleading means any document, which may take the form of an application, petition, complaint, answer, motion or comment filed with the PUCN in any proceeding.
An open meeting, which is noticed and held prior to a hearing for the purpose of formulating and simplifying issues and setting a procedural schedule for the hearing.
NAC 703.090, Presiding Officer means: the Chair; a Commissioner designated by the Chair to preside over and conduct hearings or other proceedings, or any portion thereof; or 3. A presiding officer appointed by the Chair to preside over and conduct hearings or other proceedings, or any portion thereof, if the Chair designates the presiding officer as the presiding officer for the hearings or proceedings.
An order, issued by a presiding officer, establishing a procedural schedule.
A course of action taken by the PUCN.
An opportunity for the public to address the PUCN.
Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN):
An administrative agency created by the Nevada Legislature for the purpose of regulating public utilities operating in the state.
A term applied to the action, discretion, etc., of public administrative officers or bodies, who are required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, hold hearings, and draw conclusions from them, as a basis for their official action, and to exercise discretion of a judicial nature.
The process through which the PUCN sets the rates that public utilities charge to their customers. The PUCN has a statutory duty to set just and reasonable rates.
Regulated Public Utility:
A utility that is
regulated by the PUCN and that is within the PUCN's quasi-jurisdictional purview. By statute, the scope of the PUCN's jurisdiction is not the same for all public utilities.
Regulations are rules adopted by the PUCN. Regulations generally address procedural and/or substantive requirements for three separate groups of people: 1) the PUCN (i.e. specifying timelines for issuance of notices and content of notices); 2) applicants/petitioners who file pleadings with the PUCN requesting specific relief (i.e. specifying information required to be included in a certain type of application and the available methods for filing); 3) other persons who wish to participate in PUCN proceedings (i.e. specifying deadlines for filing a petition for leave to intervene and the required contents). Regulations are adopted in conformance with procedures issued in the
Administrative Procedure Act in NRS 233B.
Regulatory Operations Staff of the Commission (Staff):
The group of employees who work under the direction of the
Director of Regulatory Operations (DRO). Staff includes the following divisions:
Consumer Complaint Resolution,
Resource and Market Analysis,
Rail Safety and
Staff Counsel. Staff is an
independent party within the PUCN
pursuant to ex-parte communication rules. Staff investigates every docket before the Commission and presents its recommendations formally as would any other party.
Energy derived from natural resources that are able to be naturally regenerated. These resources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and biomass.
Renewable Energy Program Rate:
The rate that allows utilities to recover from customers the costs of implementing some renewable energy programs.
A rule is one of several elements of a
tariff. It may decide a utility's responsibility or authority with respect to rates, charges, services, service area, line extensions, water rights, maintenance, etc.
A rule in certain utility tariffs which governs the cost of and conditions of line extensions (water, sewer, electric, and gas).
An open meeting procedure employed by the PUCN following the requirements of
Nevada's Open Meeting Law, NRS 233B, where the PUCN develops regulations which are incorporated in the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). The procedure requires preparation of a small business impact statement, holding workshops and hearings, and coordination with the
Legislative Counsel Bureau.
NAC 703.158, the PUCN will maintain one or more
service lists for proceedings before the PUCN, including, without limitation, a service list that applies to all proceedings before the PUCN. A person may submit a written request to be placed on one or more service lists maintained by the PUCN. If a person makes such a request, the PUCN will send the person either copies or electronic mail notification of all notices and orders issued by the PUCN or a presiding officer in all proceedings to which the service lists apply for at least 6 months after the date of the request, or until the conclusion of a docket for matters which continue for more than 6 months. A person may submit a written request to renew the person's placement on the service list.
Settlement by Stipulation:
Parties to a docket may present a settlement agreement for consideration by the PUCN. A stipulation is the legal document or contract setting forth the premises and conditions of the settlement agreement regarding some or all of the issues involved in the docket. A stipulation may only address the issues in the docket in which it is offered, and must only seek relief that the PUCN has jurisdiction to grant. (NAC 703.845)
Slamming/Cramming: Slamming occurs when a customer's service provider is switched to another provider without the customer's permission.
Cramming occurs when a service provider places unauthorized, deceptive, and often expensive charges on a customer's bill.
Small Business Impact Statement (SBIS):
An SBIS is prepared pursuant to
NRS 233B.0609 prior to the adoption by the PUCN of a new or amended regulation. The statement describes obstacles to the formation or viability of businesses under 150 employees based on the impact on these businesses of the proposed new or amended regulation.
An electrical grid that uses information and communications technology to gather information on consumer use in order to improve efficiency and reliability.
Smart Meter: Smart meters are digital devices that collect energy use data and, unlike traditional meters, transmit and receive data, too.
Laws passed by the Legislature of the state. Statutes are printed as
Nevada Revised Statutes and are available online from the
Legislative Counsel Bureau. Statutes take precedence over regulations but are preempted by the State Constitution.
A legal document or contract setting forth the terms and conditions of an agreement between parties to a docket. A stipulation may resolve all issues in a docket, or part of the issues, thereby narrowing the issues to be heard by the PUCN. Stipulations are negotiated settlements presented to the PUCN for approval.
tariff is the collection of rules that defines the relationship between the utility and its customers. Each utility has its own tariff. The tariff may consist of up to 20 or more rules. Rules address service area, rates, allocation of costs for line extensions, allocation of costs for new customer connections, requirements for new customers (water right dedications), and other issues which define the responsibilities and authorities of the utility. Tariffs are formally accepted or approved by the PUCN. Complete and approved Tariffs for each regulated utility are maintained by the
Financial Analysis Division.
Temporary Renewable Energy Development Charge (TRED):
A temporary (20 years) charge which benefits a solar project in case of utility financial difficulties. (NAC 704.8866)
The period an applicant chooses to present data supporting a rate case, commonly a calendar or fiscal year. (NAC 704.063)
Pre-filed written testimony is submitted by all parties in accordance with a procedural schedule set by the presiding officer. The testimony is written in question and answer format in lieu of direct oral examination at hearing. The witness poses the questions to himself and then answers them. Testimony should be clear, concise, and provide information, logic, data and the history that supports the party's recommendations for the PUCN's order in a docket.
written record of PUCN proceedings.
The infrastructure that transports electricity from a generation facility to a distribution outlet.
Universal Energy Charge (UEC):
A charge assessed to all electric and gas customers of a public utility by the Legislature to assist low-income customers with their energy bills and with weatherization.
Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA):
A person, other than a local government, shall not commence to construct a utility facility in the state without first having obtained a construction permit from the PUCN. A
UEPA permit may only be issued pursuant to
NRS 704.820 to 704.900, inclusive.
An informal proceeding presided over by a Presiding officer where stakeholders/customers/public, can provide information on proposed regulations or in some cases other types of PUCN proceedings such as an investigation.