NV Energy

NV Energy of Nevada serves the area from Elko to Laughlin. Begun during the silver and gold mining boom of the 1800s, NV Energy was originally called Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power. Today, NV Energy serves 1,194,000 electric customers and 151,000 gas customers within a service territory of 54,500 square miles. In all, NV Energy serves 93 percent of all Nevada residents.

In 1999, Nevada Power Company, Sierra Pacific Power Company, and Sierra Pacific Resources merged, and the companies’ functions were consolidated to reduce costs of operation. In 2008, the merged companies took on the name NV Energy.

The company’s history goes back over 150 years ago to the California Gold Rush. The Farad Hydroelectric Plant, the company’s first electric plant along the Truckee River, was built in 1899. The Virginia City electric distribution system was one of the few in the nation designed by Thomas Edison. As Nevada’s mines and pioneer population grew, so did the need for electricity.

Nevada had imported electricity until the 1960s. In 1963, the company began building its own oil and natural gas fired power plants to lower its dependence on imports. Currently, NV Energy distributes a mixture of imported and company-generated electricity. NV Energy started providing electricity to Las Vegas in 1906, when it was a small village. A small generator powered NV Energy’s first distribution system.

Consolidated Power and Telephone, the original company, added gasoline-powered, small generators until 1914, when the business decided to purchase its electricity from the railroad powerhouse. The company split in two by 1929, forming Southern Nevada Telephone Company and Southern Nevada Power Company. Southern Nevada Power was the first to distribute electricity from Hoover Dam, which had just been completed and would become Las Vegas’ main power source for the following 18 years.

El Rancho Vegas, the city’s first hotel-casino, opened in 1940, as the owner was certain that Hoover Dam would be a hot tourist attraction. By the end of the 1940s, many more hotels and casinos had opened. The local economy also benefitted from the growing chemical industry nearby and from limestone and gypsum mining.

Since the demand for electricity was greater than Hoover Dam could supply, Southern Nevada Power began building steam turbine generators of its own in the 1950s. In 1961, after the company acquired the Elko-Lamoille Power Company of northern Nevada, it dropped the word “Southern” from its name.

Like many power plants, factories, work sites, and mills built before extensive material regulation, NV Energy used asbestos for its insulating needs. Although effective as an insulator, it also fragments into small particles that can embed in the protective tissue surrounding organs, putting those who work around the material in danger. These fibers can develop into several lethal health conditions, including mesothelioma and asbestosis.


NV Energy