A class of NV Energy retirees whose health benefits have been reduced by the company filed a lawsuit in federal court on May 19, 2011 against the utility.
Before retiring, the plaintiffs gave up additional pension benefits in exchange for the maintenance of their health benefits and premiums during retirement. NV Energy has reneged on that commitment by unilaterally cutting retiree benefits and increasing their premiums.
Despite reporting $227 million in profits in 2010 – a nearly 25% increase from the year before – NV Energy has refused to negotiate with its 600 retirees in the last eighteen months.
“This is not the company I once knew,” said Ron Borst, a retired journeyman lineman and President of the Reno/Sparks Retiree Club. “We gave so much to NV Energy – some gave life and limb – and they won’t even negotiate with us while they take away our health care.”
NV Energy has eliminated electric line crews throughout Nevada and closed all but one customer service office in the state. These cuts earned NV Energy the worst customer service rating in the West by J.D. Power and Associates.
“It would be easier to understand if NV Energy was going under. But it’s not – it’s making hundreds of millions of dollars and still forcing retirees to pay 100% of all increases in our health care premiums,” said Rita Weisshaar, a retired NV Energy employee. “There’s a real disconnect here between what’s right – and what NV Energy is doing.”
The “Shame on NV Energy” campaign has spotlighted the company’s recent cuts in full-page newspaper, radio and television ads throughout Nevada. The campaign’s Facebook group, Facebook.com/ShameOnNVEnergy has gained over 33,000 supporters, becoming one of the largest online advocacy groups in the state of Nevada.