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Nevada Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (7-NV-c)

A Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) is required for the development of both energy generation facilities and transmission facilities, issued by Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUC). Additional permits are required for certain facilities under the Utility Environmental Protection Act (UEPA) in Nevada by the PUC. For more information on the UEPA permitting process see:

State Environmental Review Process:

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Process

7-NV-c.1 to 7-NV-c.2 – Is the Facility a Public Utility?

Any person who will own, control, operate, or maintain a public utility must obtain a CPCN from the PUC before constructing the facility. See NRS 704.330. If the facility is not a public utility a CPCN is not required.

The term “public utility” includes “[a]ny plant or equipment, or any part of a plant or equipment, within this State for the production, delivery or furnishing for or to other persons, including private or municipal corporations, heat, gas, coal slurry, light, power in any form or by any agency, water for business, manufacturing, agricultural or household use, or sewerage service, whether or not within the limits of municipalities.” See NRS 704.020(2)(a). However, NRS 704.021(4) excludes “Persons who are engaged in the production and sale of energy, including electricity, to public utilities, cities, counties or other entities which are reselling the energy to the public” from the definition of “public utility.” Therefore, developers who intend to sell energy wholesale directly to public utilities, cities, or counties need not obtain a CPCN.

7-NV-c.3 – Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN)

An application for a CPCN must contain the following:

  • The full name, mailing address and telephone number of the [developer] and full name, mailing address and telephone number of the [developer’s] authorized representative or attorney, if applicable;
  • All material facts which the [developer] is prepared to prove and upon which the Commission may base its decision to grant the request;
  • Required exhibits and such other exhibits as the [developer] deems appropriate;
  • A request for the order, authorization, permission, certificate, relief or permit desired; and
  • A reference to the particular statutes or regulations requiring or supporting the requested action.

See NAC 703.535.

  • A full description of the proposed construction or extension and the manner in which it will be constructed;
  • The names and addresses of all utilities, corporations, persons or other entities, whether publicly or privately operated, with which the proposed service or construction is likely to compete and of the cities or counties within which service will be rendered under the requested certificate. The application must contain a certification that a copy of the application has been served upon or mailed to each entity named;
  • A legible map of suitable scale indicating townships, ranges and sections, and showing the location or route of the proposed construction or extension and its relation to other public utilities, corporations, persons or entities with which the proposal is likely to compete;
  • A statement identifying the franchise and the permits for health and safety that appropriate public authorities require for the proposed construction or extension. If a construction permit is required under the Utility Environmental Protection Act, application must also be made under NAC 703.415 to 703.427, inclusive;
  • Facts showing that public convenience and necessity requires or will require the proposed construction or extension;
  • A statement detailing the estimated cost of the proposed construction or extension and the estimated annual costs, both fixed and operating, associated with the proposal, including statements or exhibits showing that the proposed construction is in the public interest and that it is economically feasible;
  • Statements or exhibits showing the financial ability of the [developer] to render the proposed service and information regarding the manner in which the [developer] proposes to finance the cost of the proposed construction or extension, including a copy of its most recent balance sheet and statement of income;
  • A statement of the proposed rates to be charged for service to be rendered by means of the proposed construction or extension, the rules governing service in the form of a tariff, an estimate of the number of customers to be served and an estimate of the annual revenue to be received from those customers;
  • If the [developer] is a corporation, a list of:
    • The shareholders holding 2 percent or more of the issued shares of stock of the corporation and the number of shares they hold listed by class;
    • The number of shares of stock, listed by class, held directly by all executive officers of the corporation, including the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and any other person in a position of similar responsibility, and the number of shares held indirectly by those officers pursuant to an ownership plan for employees; and
  • Such additional information as is necessary for a full understanding of the application.

See NAC 703.175.

If the CPCN is for an electric company, the following additional information must be included in the application:

  • Load and resource data setting forth recorded and estimated loads (energy and demands), available capacity and margins for 2 years of actual and 3 years of estimated, on the basis of an average year;
  • The effective operating capacity of generating plants which have been rated and planned additions for the next 3 years;
  • The estimated capital and operating costs of any proposed generating plant;
  • The estimated number of customers to be served and their requirements for the first 5 years of operation.

See NAC 703.185.

7-NV-c.4 –Appoint Presiding Officer

The Chair of the PUC may appoint a presiding officer or hearing officer to preside over and conduct any proceeding involving an application, petition or complaint before the PUC. NAC 703.486. CPCN applications before the PUC will be assigned to a presiding officer; however, they may be re-assigned to a different presiding officer if the Chair determines that it is necessary.

7-NV-c.5 – Comment on Application

A 30-day minimum public notice is required where the PUC will provide any interested person the opportunity to comment on the proposed project. The PUC must also provide notice regarding the pendency of the application to the parties. See NAC 703.492. Parties include applicants, complainants, petitioners, respondents or interveners. NAC 703.490. Non-parties who wish to participate in the proceedings must file with the PUC a notice of intent to participate as a commenter. NAC 703.491(2). NAC 703.491(5) limits the scope of a commentators participation in the hearing.Parties and non-party commenters may file written comments with the PUC before he hearing begins. See NAC 703.491(4).

7-NV-c.6 – Hold Prehearing Conference

Upon the motion of a party of record or the presiding officer's own motion a prehearing conference may be held. The prehearing conference is intended to accomplish the following purposes according to NAC 703.655:

  • formulate or simplify the issues involved in the proceeding;
  • obtain admission of fact or any stipulation of the parties;
  • arrange for the exchange of proposed exhibits or prepared expert testimony;
  • identify the witnesses and the subject matter of their expected testimony and limit the number of witnesses, if necessary;
  • rule on any pending procedural motions, motions for discovery or motions for protective orders;
  • determine the necessary and appropriate content of the notice of hearing;
  • establish a schedule for the submission of a statement of issues and positions by all parties to a hearing;
  • establish any other procedure which may expedite the orderly conduct and disposition of the proceedings.

Notice of the hearing must be provided to all parties of record. Failure of any party to attend the prehearing conference will act as waiver of any objection to all agreements reached or rulings made at the conference. The prehearing conference must be made a part of the record, control the course of subsequent proceedings (unless they are modified by the presiding officer), and is binding on all current and subsequent parties. See NAC 703.655(2)-(3).

7-NV-c.7 to 7-NV-c.8 – Is Application Contested?

If the application is uncontested, the proceeding may move directly to the public hearing without conducting discovery between the applicant and any other parties of record. If the application is contested, there may be a need for discovery between the parties. Discovery under a PUC proceeding is governed by NAC 703.680. Discovery is generally conducted through written data requests and oral depositions that must be reasonably calculated to obtain information relevant to the CPCN application. The presiding officer may, after a motion and opportunity for response, limit the number of data requests no later than 45 days after opening the docket. NAC 703.680(2).

Any party may object in whole or in part to a discovery request within 5 business days after receiving the request. The objection must be made in writing to the presiding officer, must state specific grounds for the objection and must be served on the requesting party within 10 days of receipt of the original request. NAC 703.680(6-7). Finally, discovery must be completed at least 15 days before the date set for the hearing unless the presiding officer has set a different date for close of discovery. See NAC 703.680(16).

7-NV-c.9 to 7-NV-c.10 – Hold Public Hearing

to the PUC must hold a hearing on a CPCN application for an electric utility. NRS 704.370(3). The hearing will be conducted by the presiding officer appointed by the PUC and shall follow the procedures described in NAC 703.655 et seq..

All testimony (expert or otherwise) presented at the hearing must be sworn testimony, except for matters which the presiding officer takes official notice of or matters which were entered by stipulation. See NAC 703.685(1). Witnesses may be cross examined by other parties to the hearing. See NAC 703.685(3). At the discretion of the presiding officer, the parties may also make opening statements at the hearing. See NAC 703.690(2).

The Presiding Officer will have the following authorities throughout the proceeding. NAC 703.690:

  • call a hearing to order and take appearances of the parties present;
  • hold appropriate conferences before or during the hearing;
  • receive and rule on the admissibility of evidence;
  • rule on the admissibility of amendments to pleadings;
  • act on any pending motions or petitions which do not involve a final determination of the proceeding;
  • make proposed opinions, findings and conclusions of law;
  • issue appropriate interim orders;
  • recess the hearing as required;
  • rule on all procedural matters; and
  • set reasonable time limits for the presentation of oral testimony.

7-NV-c.11 to 7-NV-c.12 – Is Additional Evidence Required by Presiding Officer

At the hearing, the presiding officer may order presentation of further evidence on any issue. After the hearing, but before entry of a final decision and order, the PUC or the presiding officer may issue an order requesting submission of additional exhibits. This order for additional submissions must specifically delineate which exhibits must be submitted and the subject matter to be addressed by the request. All parties of record will be served with the exhibits requested by this mechanism. NAC 703.725. All rulings and orders for additional evidence regarding admissibility of evidence are subject to review by the full Commission.

7-NV-c.13 to 7-NV-c.14 – Proposed Opinion, Findings and Conclusions of Law

The presiding officer must "file with the Commission a proposed order that sets forth [his or her] findings and conclusions… and the reasons and bases for those findings and conclusions," unless the proceeding is a noncontested case or a contested case that is settled in its entirety by stipulation. NAC 703.486(3).

The proposed order must be served on each party of record in the proceeding. Parties receiving the proposed order may file comments that address the order in in accordance with NAC 703.785. Exceptions to the proposed opinion may be filed within 10 days after the date of service of the proposed order, unless a different time is specified by the PUC in the proposed order. See NAC 703.785(3)

Unless otherwise ordered, the matter of each application is submitted for a decision of the PUC at the close of the hearing. NAC 703.770.

7-NV-c.15 – Is a Proposed Order Required or Requested by Any Party of Record

If the proceeding falls under one of the exceptions, then the PUC may still issue a proposed order. If it does so, it must notify all parties of record. See NAC 703.785(1). In addition, any party of record may file a petition requesting that a proposed order be issued by the PUC. NAC 703.785(2). Any petition for a proposed order must set forth reasons for issuing the proposed order and state that it will promote the administration of justice and not cause unreasonable delay. Any adverse party is allowed the opportunity to object to the petition for a proposed order within 5 days after service of the petition.

7-NV-c.16 to 7-NV-c.17 – Proposed Order

The PUC will issue a Proposed Order setting forth the relative rights and findings of the certificate of public convenience and necessity regarding the proposed electric facility. The Proposed Order will be served on all parties of record and open for public review. See NAC 703.785.

7-NV-c.18 to 7-NV-c.19 – Does Any Party of Record File an Exception to the Proposed Order

As stated above, any party of record may file an exception to the proposed order within 10 days of the receipt of notice, unless a different time is specified by the Commission in the proposed order. The exception must be in writing and include a clear statement regarding the reason for the exception, the grounds supporting the exception, suggested correction of the matter, and a copy of the exception to be served on all parties of record. The PUC may also hold a public hearing on the exception filing if the public interest would be served by such a hearing. See NAC 703.785(3)-(4). Parties may file an answer to the exception within five days of its receipt. See NAC 703.785(5). The PUC will consider all exceptions, answers and briefs contained in the record of the proceeding before issuing a final order. See NAC 703.785(6).

7-NV-c.20 to 7-NV-c.21 – Does PUC Issue the CPCN?

Upon reviewing the decisions of the presiding officer in the proposed opinion, the PUC may affirm or reverse the decision, in whole or in part. NAC 703.486(6).

The PUC will have the power to take the following actions:

  • Issue the CPCN;
  • Refuse the CPCN;
  • Issue the CPCN for a portion of the contemplated line, plant or system; or
  • Attach terms and conditions as public convenience and necessity may require.

See NRS 704.370.

7-NV-c.22 to 7-NV-c.23 – Is a Petition for Reconsideration or Rehearing Filed

Any party of record may file a petition for reconsideration or rehearing to the PUC. Either petition must be filed with the PUC and served on all parties of record within 10 business days after the effective date of the order.

Petition for Reconsideration

Before filing such a petition, the party should identify each portion of the challenged order which they deem to be unlawful, unreasonable or based on erroneous conclusions of law or mistaken facts, and cite those portions of the record or law in the petition. Petitions may not contain additional evidentiary matters or require the submission of additional evidence. NAC 703.801(1)(a)-(b).

Petition for Rehearing

A petition for rehearing must include the following:

  • allegations that an order is in error because of an incomplete or inaccurate record;
  • specifically set forth the nature and purpose of any additional evidence to be introduced
  • show that such evidence is not merely cumulative and could not have been introduced at the hearing

See NAC 703.801(2)

7-NV-c.24 – Modified Final Order or Reaffirmed Final Order

A petition for reconsideration or rehearing must be filed with the PUC and served on all parties within 10 days of the effective date of the PUC’s order. Parties may file an answer within 10 days of the filing of the petition. The PUC must then decide whether to grant or deny the petition within 40 days. If the PUC grants a petition for reconsideration, it reexamines the record and order and either issues a modified final order or reaffirms the original order. If the PUC grants a petition for rehearing, it conducts a hearing within 20 days to allow the parties to present additional evidence. The PUC then issues a modified final order or affirms the original order. If no action is taken by the PUC, the petition is deemed to be denied. A modified final order is the final decision of the PUC . See NAC 703.801(3)-(9).

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