- Data storage company Switch is suing NV Energy and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN), saying it was denied a fair chance to leave the utility's service and seek a cleaner power mix in open markets.
- Nevada regulators last month rejected Switch's request to leave Nevada Power's service, a decision likely to impact other similar applications that include large customers including a group of casinos consuming 370 MW of power.
- Former PUC General Counsel Carolyn Tanner has stepped down from the commission after it was revealed she was using a social media pseudonym to comment on net metering debate, though the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports she has defended using the since-deleted Twitter handle @DixieRaeSparx. Switch's lawsuit alleges Tanner improperly influenced the commission's decision, denying the company legal protections.
The Twitter account has since been deleted, but data company Switch contends comments made through it, later revealed to be authored by Tanner, swayed regulators and hurt the PUCN's ability to have a fair hearing, according to the lawsuit.
The Review-Journal reports on the controversy and lawsuit, noting that Switch told the court it could use 100% renewable power under its current situation with NV Energy “wedged in as a gratuitous middle-man.” The lawsuit claims NV Energy purchases solar power at less than 4 cents per KWh, but sold it for 9 cents.
Regulators voted 2-1 to deny Switch's application last month. Staff of the PUC had recommended the company be allowed to change, but only after paying an exit fee in excess of $27 million. Two commission members disagreed, however.
A group of casinos has been seeking to leave the utility's service as well, and it is unclear how Switch's case impacts their requests.
MGM Grand in May agreed to pay almost $87 million in exit fees to leave the utility's service in search of cleaner and cheaper power. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have also been considering leaving, but their respective $24 million and $16 million exit fees stand in the way.
Tanner's use of the social media pseudonym came to light in June when a resident presented the commission with information linking the General Counsel to the account, according to the Review-Journal.