City of Reno
Nevada

Staff Report
6950

Staff Report (For Possible Action): Approval of Special Counsel Agreement with McDonald Carano to provide legal representation in Docket No. 16-06006 before the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada: IN THE MATTER of the Application of SIERRA PACIFIC POWER COMPANY d/b/a NV Energy, filed pursuant to NRS 704.110(3), for authority to adjust its annual revenue requirement for general rates charged to all classes of electric customers and for relief properly related thereto in the amount of $14,000 ($2,000 General Fund; remainder reimbursed).

Information

Department:City AttorneySponsors:
Category:Agreement

Recommendation and Proposed Motion

Recommendation:  Staff recommends City Council approve the Agreement and waive any conflict of interest.

 

Proposed Motion:  I move to approve staff recommendation.

Staff Report Formal Body

Summary: Staff requests that the City Council approve a Special Counsel Agreement with McDonald Carano to provide legal representation in Docket No. 16-06006 and Docket No. 16-07001 before the Public Utilities Commission of NevadaIN THE MATTER of the Application of SIERRA PACIFIC POWER COMPANY d/b/a NV Energy, filed pursuant to NRS 704.110(3), for authority to adjust its annual revenue requirement for general rates charged to all classes of electric customers and for relief properly related thereto, and NRS 704.741 for approval of its triennial integrated resource plan.

 

Discussion:  The PUC Local Government Working Group currently consists of the City of Reno, the City of Carson City, the City of Sparks, the Douglas County School District, the Washoe County School District, the Carson City School District, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (the “Coalition”).  The local governments formed the Coalition in response to the Public Utility Commission’s (“PUC”) recent actions regarding rooftop solar and net metering.

 

NV Energy recently filed its general rate case.  At this point, NV Energy’s application does not request any PUC action that would financially impact the Coalition.  However, given what happened in the prior rooftop solar docket, the PUC could unilaterally take action that will financially impact the members of the Coalition.  For this reason, staff recommends that the City retain McDonald Carano to file a reservation establishing the right to intervene, monitor the general rate case, and intervene on the Coalition’s behalf if and when it becomes necessary. Additionally, to file, monitor and intervene on the integrated resource plan case on the Coalition’s behalf if and when it becomes necessary. It is anticipated that a second agreement for monitoring subsequent integrated resource planning case will be brought to Council in the future, in the amount of $14,000, for a total of $28,000 for both agreements.  The City’s portion for both contracts is estimated at $4,000 ($2,000 each). 

 

NRS 41.0344 provides that the City Attorney may employ Special Counsel whose compensation must be fixed by the governing body of the political subdivision if he determines that it is impracticable or could constitute a conflict of interest for legal services to be rendered by his office. Compensation for Special Counsel must be paid by the political subdivision.  Here, given the complexities and time consuming nature of general ratemaking proceedings, the City Attorney has determined that it would be impracticable for his office to provide legal services in this matter.

 

Financial Implications:  Based on filings to date, McDonald Carano is estimating 35 hours at $400 per hour ($14,000) to monitor the general rate case.  If an issue develops that directly relates to the interests of the group that is in addition to monitoring the case, McDonald Carano will provide a revised estimate.  The City will enter the Agreement with McDonald Carano, and the other Coalition members will reimburse the City for the remainder of the litigation costs above the estimated $2,000. 

 

In addition, for the future agreement to monitor the subsequent integrated resource planning case, McDonald Carano is estimating another 35 hours at $400 per hour ($14,000).  At this point, the City’s share for both cases is approximately $4,000.  The funds to pay for the Special Counsel Agreement will come from the City Attorney’s budget.  Funds for outside counsel are included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 16/17 budget. 

 

Legal Implications:  To engage McDonald Carano, City Council must also approve a waiver of conflict of interest.

 

Meeting History

Jul 27, 2016 10:00 AM Video Reno City Council & Redevelopment Agency Board Joint Regular

Council Member Jardon made the following disclosure:

"NRS 280.1a.420 requires me to disclose my relationship in a private capacity with members of the McDonald Carano Wilson, LLP, law firm. This agenda item regards the employment of another member of the law firm unrelated to reasons for my previous stated relationship with the law firm but the law firm may be benefited in general if this agenda item were approved. I have consulted with the City Attorney's office and have concluded that the independence of judgment of a reasonable person in my situation would not be materially affected by my relationship with members of the law firm. Madam Clerk, please accept this disclosure and lodge it on the record for this meeting and any subsequent meetings pertaining to this agenda item."

RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Neoma Jardon, Councilmember
SECONDER:Paul McKenzie, Councilmember
AYES:Hillary Schieve, Jenny Brekhus, Naomi Duerr, Oscar Delgado, Paul McKenzie, Neoma Jardon
ABSENT:David Bobzien