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Merger of Nevada Utilities Gets Justice OK

Merger of Nevada Utilities Gets Justice OK

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has given Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power - the two largest providers of electricity and natural gas in Nevada - a clean bill of health on the antitrust aspects of their proposed merger. The DOJ action came in the wake of FERC's approval of the $4 billion transaction last Wednesday.

"This is another step that brings us closer to the completion of our vision of creating a western utility that benefits all of our customers," said Malyn K. Malquist, CEO, president and chairman of Sierra Pacific Resources, parent of Sierra Pacific Power.

The merger partners still must comply with a Nevada Public Service Commission order issued last December, requiring them to carry out the divestiture of their power generation facilities. In addition, the Securities Exchange Commission must sign off on the deal. The utilities hope to close the merger by the end of the second quarter.

In the event the approvals are forthcoming, both Reno-based Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power of Las Vegas will be combined into Sierra Pacific Resources to serve more than 800,000 electric users and 100,000 natural gas customers in southern and northern Nevada and in the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific Resources also owns a 50% interest in Tuscarora Gas Pipeline.

The new company would have annual customers and kilowatt-hour sales growth of 5% and 7% respectively, the highest in the nation, according to the merger partners. And based on 1997 results, total revenues would be approximately $1.5 billion, with annual earnings of about $160 million and assets of $4.3 billion.

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