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Warren Buffett's Latest Utility Challenge in Nevada

Image source: Getty Images.

When Nevada regulators agreed earlier this year to allow MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) to leave NV Energy, one of Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) largest utility assets, it opened a slew of problems for the utility. Not only could the utility lose 7% of its demand if all three casino companies left, but data company Switch has now also challenged why it wasn't allowed to leave the utility a year ago.

Switch was the first company to really challenge the utility's electricity monopoly in Nevada, filing to exit in 2014. But the utility rejected the plan over fear that losing such a large customer would raise costs for other customers. And to meet Switch's needs, NV Energy eventually agreed to buy energy from a 100 MW solar plant First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) built. But Switch thinks the utility didn't give them equal treatment.

Why can casinos leave NV Energy now?

In a lawsuit against Nevada regulators and NV Energy, Switch is alleging that it was treated differently from MGM, Wynn, and Las Vegas Sands in its efforts to leave the utility. It wants to undo an agreement to buy energy from the First Solar plant, which ends up paying NV Energy a premium for being the middleman.

Switch is arguing that NV Energy...


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