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Consumers may foot bill for NV Energy efficiency program

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Updated: 11/14/2012 8:28 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Consumers may have to pay more money to NV Energy if the Public Utilities Commission decides to increase energy efficiency programs in Nevada.

The decision may come down to how much should come out of our wallets to spark energy conservation in our state?

Experts from the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) are going before the Public Utilities Commission to say more money should go to NV Energy programs that include energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. But there's one catch:

SWEEP Executive Director Howard Geller says it could be costly in the next few years to subsidize energy efficient products and services. But he says those costs are outweighed by many long-term benefits.

“If we don't invest in energy efficiency, we'll be building new power plants in the not too distant future that will cost more money than the energy efficiency program,” Geller said.

NV Energy has offered the Public Utilities Commission three different conservation program options to consider. The one SWEEP supports is the most aggressive, but state's consumer advocates say costly conservation measures are unnecessary at a time when people can barely make ends meet.

Consumer advocate Michael Saunders says it's his goal to reduce short-term rate hikes. The proposal his office supports keeps conservation programs going but reduces the impact on customers' rates.

PUC will have the final say on which conservation program NV Energy gets to use and how much, if anything, it could wind up costing consumers. It is expected to reach its decision by the end of the year.

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