- What charges make up my natural gas bill?
- What charges make up my electric bill?
- Does the electric or natural gas utility profit from natural gas price increases?
- Why are there so many electric outages?
- What are the guidelines for tree trimming?
- Does the PUCN have jurisdiction to grant relief to customers of regulated electric utilities when outages cause damage or injury?
- Who is responsible for maintaining electrical equipment and wiring at my mobile home?
1. What charges make up my natural gas bill?
There are several parts to your natural gas bill, including the following:
- Gas Commodity Charge: This is the cost of the gas itself. This is expressed in therms, a unit of energy equal to 100,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units).
- Delivery Charge: The cost of delivering the gas from a central pipeline to your home or business. This charge includes construction and maintenance costs, depreciation costs, operation expenses, taxes, and the company’s return on invested capital. This charge is based on the amount of gas used and is regulated by the PUCN.
- Customer Charge or Basic Service Charge: A fixed monthly charge that covers the cost of connecting you to the utility’s system. This includes the cost of your service line and meter, and expenses associated with meter reading, billing, administrative costs, and service line maintenance. This fixed monthly charge is the same no matter how much natural gas you use. This charge is regulated by the PUCN.
- Tax or Franchise Fee: A fee imposed by the city or county. The money is collected by the utility and turned over to local government.
- Universal Energy Charge: An assessment mandated by the State of Nevada. The proceeds help low-income customers pay their energy bills.
2. What charges make up my electric bill?
There are several parts to your electric bill, including the following:
- Electric Consumption: The charge for electricity consumed during the billing period.
- Deferred Energy Adjustment: A rate adjustment mechanism that reimburses the utility for the electricity purchased on behalf of its customers.
- Temporary Green Power Financing (TRED): In 2005, the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 3 (Section 23) to establish the TRED. The TRED is a trust to pay for the costs of renewable energy from developers who had approved contracts to sell electricity to NV Energy, but were unable to get financing to build renewable generating plants because of NV Energy’s poor credit rating.
- Renewable Energy Program (REPR): A fee that helps further development of alternative energy projects and renewable rebate programs.
- Energy Efficiency (EE) Charge: A charge to recover costs and other expenses associated with energy efficiency and conservation programs.
- Basic Service Charge: This covers a portion of fixed administrative costs, such as monthly meter reading, distribution facilities and payment processing.
- Local Government Fee: Fee imposed by local government, consisting of any business license fee, gross receipts or similar tax, collected by the utility for doing business in its jurisdiction. The fee is based upon the total amount of monthly billing excluding the UEC charge.Universal Energy Charge: A mandated fee that provides money to fund the State of Nevada energy assistance and conservation programs.
3. Does the electric or natural gas utility profit from natural gas price increases?
Increases in natural gas prices do not result in any additional profit for utilities. Under Nevada law, retail ratepayers compensate regulated utilities for the amount the utilities pay for natural gas. An electric utility that burns natural gas to generate electricity is compensated for the cost of the natural gas it purchases to use as fuel, but is not permitted to earn a profit related to those costs. A natural gas utility is compensated for the price it pays for the commodity (natural gas) that it delivers to retail ratepayers for their use, but is not permitted to profit.
4. Why are there so many electric outages?
Catastrophic storms (severe weather), weather (lightning, heavy ice, strong wind), trees (in and out of right-of-way), equipment failure, public interference (construction equipment hitting underground utility lines, car crashes, vandalism), animals (raccoons, squirrels, birds), and scheduled maintenance are all causes of electric outages. Northern Nevada in particular has hundreds of miles of power lines through very remote areas. Depending on the circumstances, locating and repairing the causes of outages can be time consuming.
5. What are the guidelines for tree trimming?
Tree trimming should strike a balance between safety and aesthetics. Utilities must be given reasonable access to trim trees in utility easements. Companies try to provide some advance notice.
6. Does the PUCN have jurisdiction to grant relief to customers of regulated electric utilities when outages cause damage or injury?
No. The PUCN only has jurisdiction over those matters delegated to it in statute by the Nevada Legislature. Damage or injury experienced by a utility customer is considered a civil matter between the customer and the utility. Customers may follow procedures to file claims with their utilities, through their homeowner’s insurance and/or in the appropriate court of law.
Generally speaking, a utility is only responsible for its own negligent acts, not for damage caused by things like lightning strikes, electrocuted birds or cars hitting power poles.
7. Who is responsible for maintaining electrical equipment and wiring at my mobile home?
If the mobile home park owns the equipment and wiring outside of the mobile homes, rather than the utility providing the service, the mobile home park is responsible for maintaining and fixing electrical equipment outside of individual mobile homes. In that case, the mobile home park is responsible for maintenance and repair. If equipment is not being maintained or fixed, you may contact your city or county building inspectors or the Nevada Manufactured Housing Division, as they have jurisdiction to inspect and order unsafe conditions be repaired.