Our History

Nevada Power Company merged with Sierra Pacific Power Company and its holding company, Sierra Pacific Resources, in 1999. Since then, many of the functions at the two companies have been consolidated to reduce operating costs. In 2008, the company announced the two utilities, Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company, would do business under the name NV Energy.

NV Energy was acquired by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company in 2013. You can view the MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company corporate brochure for more information.

Serving Nevada Since the Comstock Lode
NV Energy's roots go back more than 150 years under various company names to the California Gold Rush and the discovery of rich silver and gold deposits on the Comstock Lode.

The company's Farad Hydroelectric Plant, built alongside the Truckee River in 1899, was the first electric generating plant on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada. Mining interests bankrolled the project so they could pump water out of the Virginia City silver mines as the mine shafts were sunk deeper and deeper into the earth. The Virginia City electric distribution system -- Nevada's first -- was one of only a handful nationwide designed by genius inventor Thomas Alva Edison. The demand for electricity grew quickly as Nevada's mines prospered in the early 1900s and more pioneers migrated to the Silver State.

As a side note, in 2002 ownership of the company's small hydro-electric plants including Farad, was transferred to the Truckee Meadows Water Authority when it purchased Sierra Pacific's water treatment/distribution system in Reno-Sparks.

Reliance on imported power lasted until the 1960s
By the time Sierra Pacific Power was incorporated from an amalgamation of numerous predecessor companies in 1928, electricity was purchased from other utilities and "imported" to northern Nevada over high voltage electric transmission lines. Beginning in 1963, the company started constructing its own natural gas and oil fired power plants, reducing its dependence on imported power. Coal-fired generation was added to the electric mix in the 1980s. Today, NV Energy's customers are served by a combination of imported power and electricity produced by the company's power plants.

Northern Nevada's first natural gas pipeline was constructed to deliver fuel to the Tracy Power Plant east of Reno. Sierra Pacific was able to enter the natural gas distribution business in the Reno-Sparks area. The company was already well established as the water provider for Reno-Sparks.

Sierra Pacific Power's common stock was first traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1968. Sierra Pacific Resources, the holding company for Sierra Pacific Power, was formed in 1984.

Mining still accounts for a significant portion of NV Energy's electric sales in northern Nevada as it did when the Farad hydroelectric plant began generating electricity at the turn of the century. However, Nevada's rapidly growing economy is becoming increasingly diversified as new companies take advantage of the state's favorable tax structure and pro-business environment.

Southern Nevada
NV Energy began serving Las Vegas in 1906 when the city was little more than a village at the end of a railroad line. The company's first distribution system was powered by a small generator and the copper wires were supported by 6 by 8 inch redwood timbers from the town lumberyard.

As the local newspaper noted, although the community was only six months old, it had all the "modern, cosmopolitan" improvements. "Henceforth it is farewell to tallow dips and smoky oil lamps! Las Vegas is pursuing the destiny which nature intends for it."

Little did the editor know that Las Vegas would eventually become an international tourist destination with over 100,000 guestrooms and that NV Energy would become the fastest growing electric utility in the U.S.

The original company, Consolidated Power and Telephone, kept adding small, gasoline-powered generators until 1914 when the company negotiated a contract to buy all of its electricity from the railroad power house. By 1929, the company had split into two separate corporations - Southern Nevada Power Company and Southern Nevada Telephone Company.

First Utility Served by Hoover Dam
In 1937, Southern Nevada Power became the first utility to distribute electricity from newly completed Hoover Dam, the major source of power for Las Vegas for the next 18 years.

Convinced the dam would become a major tourist attraction, the first of Las Vegas's hotel-casinos, the plush El Rancho Vegas, was opened in 1940. By the end of the 1940s, several more dotted the landscape. The community's economy also benefited from the steadily growing chemical industry near Henderson and from gypsum and limestone mining.

Because the demand for power was exceeding supplies available from Hoover Dam, Southern Nevada Power started construction of its own steam turbine generators in the 1950s, beginning with Clark Station.

The company dropped "Southern" from its name in 1961, following its acquisition of the Elko-Lamoille Power Company in northern Nevada. In 1962 Nevada Power was the first Nevada-based company to have its common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange.