The Nevada Public Utilities Commission last Wednesday approved an expansion of Sierra Pacific Power Co.’s natural gas service territory in the north end of the state. The PUC gave the OK for the Sierra Pacific Resources utility to annex contiguous areas in Storey and Lyon Counties.

Las Vegas-based Southwest Gas Corp. currently serves customers in the industrial area, and the gas-only utility did not object to Sierra annexing a 16-square-mile adjacent area slated for expansion of the industrial complex, the PUC said.

“The expansion will allow Sierra Pacific to provide gas service to the areas near and adjacent to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center,” the PUC said in announcing its decision. The annexed area is about 17 miles east of Reno near the Tracy Power Center where the combination utility recently broke ground for a new generating facility at the site.

Industrial customers asked for Sierra Pacific to provide natural gas service to currently undeveloped properties in the area that are not already served by Southwest Gas. In its filing to the PUC, Sierra Pacific estimated a growth of two small and six large industrial/commercial customers annually, with a projected load growth of more than 1.1 million therms annually.

Sierra’s expansion is supported by the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, the PUC said.

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