The two utilities owned by Sierra Pacific Resources still await shareholder approval to amend the corporate charter, renaming it to Nevada Energy, Inc., to officially brand the business that services a 54,500-square-mile territory with more than 2.4 million Nevadans north to south from Elko to Laughlin. The move is intended to share a "unified mission to meet the needs of Nevadans during challenging economic times," said SPPC's president and CEO Michael Yackira during a press conference Monday.
"The history of the state showed that when we have a common vision, we accomplish extraordinary things," Yackira said. "Energy should be no different. Most importantly, this name change and new logo signals our intention and firm commitment to our customers, our shareholders and our employees to become the premier provider of energy."
Yackira said he could not disclose the cost of the transition, but that it would be covered by shareholders, not customers.
The change will also take time to complete on buildings but customers will immediately see it emphasized in their bills, the stock of which will still have the logo of the Reno-based SPPC on it for now to save money. However, Yackira said, both companies will use NV Energy as legal entities when making filings with the Public Utilities Commission.
The new name and logo were created by Addison Whitney, a consulting firm in Charlotte, N.D. Some of SPPC’s trucks already carry the logo.
A commercial will air on television starting Wednesday to announce the change to residents. A notice will be sent out to shareholders next week to ask for the official change to NV Energy Inc. If the change is approved, the stock ticker's name would change from SRP to NVE. Currently, there are about 230 million shares outstanding, Yackira said, with about 90 percent held by private investors such as Vanguard, Fidelity and employees of SPPC and the Las Vegas-based NPC.
The consolidation also will help the power company make another step toward an increasing interest in renewable energy, Yackira said. He spoke of the need to invest in solar, wind and geothermal resources, all of which Nevada is a leader in the nation, to become energy independent in the future. The capability of exporting energy into other states would help diversify the economy, create a stronger tax base and bring in more jobs to the state.
To sustain the growth in Nevada and better serve customers, Yackira said a three-part strategy is necessary and already is implementation, including the expansion of energy efficiency, investment and support of renewable energy projects and adding to Nevada's traditional power generation, such as power plants, and transmission capabilities.
Some components of that strategy are already in place in southern Nevada, including an enhanced Web site that allows customers to track and manage their electric consumption, which Yackira said will soon be available in northern Nevada as well. The company also is looking to invest in smart meters for better consumption control, bundled products and a variety of pricing options to give customers the ability to shift their energy demand to certain times of the day when prices are lower, Yackira said.
Rates in northern Nevada overall are cheaper than southern Nevada because the northern region doesn't experience the kind of peak demand that the Las Vegas area does. However, Yackira said rates are higher here on a kilowatt basis. Still, bills aren't quite as high in northern Nevada, he said.
Nevertheless, customers are still encouraged to invest in renewable energy.
"With the energy challenges facing this country and state this day, we have to be even better and more prepared and more reliable," Yackira said.
In a statement, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid congratulated NV Energy for its emphasis on efficient and reliable renewable energy.
“I have said for a long time that Nevada should be the leader in clean renewable energy, so I congratulate NV Energy for stepping up to the plate by promising to build transmission lines sooner than planned to help carry renewable electricity between northern Nevada and the southern part of the state," Reid said. “Investing in Nevada’s vast renewable resources will not only reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, it will diversify our state’s economy and create jobs all over the state, especially in the rural communities that need them most."