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Daily Newscasts

New Report Projects Water and Rate Savings for Nevadans

June 15, 2012

LAS VEGAS - A new report projects big savings in dollars and much-needed water for Nevadans in return for retiring the Reid Gardner Coal-Fired Power Plant by 2013.

Former Nevada Public Utility Commissioner Tim Hay says the independent study produced by the Sierra Club says ratepayers could have saved in excess of $120 million had the plant been shut down sooner, but he says there are still plenty of savings in return for retiring the plant by 2013.

"The savings to ratepayers is about $60 million; the savings in water is a little bit in excess of 8,000 acre feet."

That savings represents about 6 percent of residential water use in the Valley for an entire year, Hay says. The estimated rate savings over 20 years for Nevadans are conservative, he says, because the study did not factor in all of the potential costs to keeping the old plant running until 2023.

"You never really can project accurately what the maintenance costs are going to be, because you could have a catastrophic failure at a 50-year-old plant pretty easily - so the savings could easily be greater than what we've estimated."

Hay says the plant uses old and dirty technology which has saddled the neighboring Moapa Tribe with major negative health impacts for more than four decades.

"The health impacts from coal ash and airborne emissions just were not that well understood, and since the tribe is in such close proximity to it, generations of tribal members have been impacted-and it's time to kind of relieve them of that burden."

California announced this week that its state water authority would stop buying energy from Reid Gardner next year because the state wants to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

The "Special Report for Nevada Ratepayers" was presented Thursday to the Utilities Commission, which is investigating the lifespan of the coal-fired power plant. The report is online at

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV