The Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved rate decreases for NV Energy’s natural gas and electric utility customers in the northern part of the state, effective Oct.1, according to an announcement Wednesday from the Las Vegas-based holding company for Nevada’s two major private-sector power utilities. NV Energy said it was experiencing declining fuel and purchased power costs.

Northern Nevada electric customers will see an overall 7.6% decrease in rates, or a $7.21/month drop for a typical residential customer using 740 kWh ($105.43 to $98.22/month). For NV Energy’s Reno-Sparks natural gas customers (its only gas customers are in the north), an overall 8% decrease was also approved. The bill for the typical natural gas customer using 56 therms will decrease from $76.25 to $70.41 or $5.84/month.

Noting natural gas prices have continued to moderate, the utility originally requested the rate decrease in February as part of its mandatory annual filing with the PUC. Both the gas and electric price drops are based on prices that NV Energy pays suppliers for fuel and purchased power. Adjustments are made annually in the rates based on changes (up and down) of the charges.

The original amount filed with the PUC, coupled with a mandatory quarterly adjustment set to take effect Oct. 1, combined to make the nearly 8% decrease possible for both electric and natural gas customers, said a utility spokesperson.

“As we head into the winter months, this is the best possible news for both our customers and the company,” said Mary Simmons, vice president for external affairs. “Natural gas markets in particular have decreased prices and we’re pleased to be able to pass those savings on to our customers.”

Even with the rate drop, Simmons encouraged customers to consider energy efficiency improvements that will help hold down their electric and gas bills. “It’s time to begin those improvements now so they are in full effect for the winter months when bills are typically higher in northern Nevada,” she said.

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