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Sierra Pacific Resources reports operating loss of $15 million for second quarter


LAS VEGAS, Aug. 8, 2003 — Sierra Pacific Resources on Friday reported an operating loss of $15 million for the second quarter of 2003, compared with operating income of $20 million in the same quarter of 2002.

For the six months ended June 30, 2003, the company’s operating income was $32 million, compared with an operating loss of $210 million for the first six months of 2002. The most recent quarter’s operating loss was primarily due to a pre-tax charge of $91 million related to previously-reported rate case disallowances for the company’s two utilities, Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co.

In addition to the deferred energy disallowances in the 2003 second quarter, the company booked: a one-time pre-tax write-off totaling $42 million from an anticipated sale and an impairment loss in the company’s unregulated subsidiaries; and an unrealized pre-tax loss of $124 million related to a change in market value of the conversion option associated with $300 million in 7.25% convertible notes issued on Feb. 14, 2003.

Including the non- operating factors, the company’s consolidated net loss was $173 million, or $(1.48) per share, for the second quarter of 2003, compared with a net loss of $42 million, or $(0.41) per share, in the same quarter of 2002. For the six months ended June 30, 2003, the loss applicable to common stock was $190 million, or $(1.66) per share, compared with a loss of $347 million, or $(3.40) per share for the same period in 2002.

Walter M. Higgins, chairman and chief executive officer of Sierra Pacific Resources, said, “While we are dissatisfied with the financial results for the second quarter, we believe the deferred energy decisions are the final step in putting the Western energy crisis behind us. Similarly, actions taken relative to the non-regulated operations are a key step in completing the company’s repositioning as a fully regulated company. The write-down and sale involving our non-utility subsidiaries, for example, will reduce our exposure to risks associated with unregulated businesses and enable us to place greater focus on our core, regulated electric and gas businesses in Nevada and California.”

Sierra Pacific Resources

The unrealized loss reflects the mark to market value related to the conversion option which is part of the convertible notes sold by the company in February. Shareholders will vote at a special meeting on Aug. 11, 2003, in Reno, Nevada, on whether to approve the potential issuance of up to 42.7 million additional shares of common stock that could be used by the company to satisfy the cash portion of the conversion price with shares of common stock. Proceeds from the convertible notes were used to refinance debt maturing in April 2003, to collateralize the first two and one half years of interest payments associated with the notes, to reduce the company’s cash requirements, and to strengthen its balance sheet.

Non-regulated Businesses

In line with its concentration on core businesses and in anticipation of a sale in its unregulated businesses during the third quarter, Sierra Pacific Resources recorded a loss of $9 million, reflecting the estimated loss on the anticipated sale of its “e.three” subsidiary, an energy services group and a district cooling facility that serves customers in downtown Las Vegas. Additionally, the company took an impairment charge of $33 million for its subsidiary, Sierra Pacific Communications, in large part due to one of its major joint venture partners declaring bankruptcy.

Nevada Power Company

Nevada Power incurred a net loss of approximately $22 million for the second quarter of 2003. Excluding the deferred energy write-off, quarterly earnings would have been approximately $8 million. As previously reported, on May 13, 2003, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada gave Nevada Power Company approval to recover $148 million of $196 million in deferred energy costs incurred by the company from Oct. 1, 2001, through Sept. 30, 2002 — a pre-tax disallowance of $48 million (including carrying charges).

Interest charges for Nevada Power for the quarter increased $8 million over the year-earlier period, due primarily to higher interest rate on debt and interest expense on delayed or terminated energy supplier contracts.

Increased expenses for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, as compared to last year included increased reserves for uncollectibles, increased costs associated with billing and collection efforts and increased maintenance costs due to the timing of scheduled plant maintenance. Depreciation and amortization was also higher than last year due to an adjustment in depreciation rates and more plant in service in 2003.

Sierra Pacific Power Company

Sierra Pacific Power reported a net loss of approximately $29 million for the quarter. Excluding the electric deferred energy write-off, Sierra Pacific Power’s contribution to quarterly earnings would have been approximately $500,000. As previously reported, on May 19, 2003, the Commission approved a stipulated agreement that resulted in a second quarter pre-tax write-off of $45 million in deferred energy costs. The stipulation agreement calls for an electric rate decrease of $9.9 million for customers of Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada, effective June 1, 2003, and an additional electric rate decrease of $19.7 million, effective June 1, 2004.

Interest charges for Sierra Pacific Power for the quarter increased approximately $2 million as compared to the same period in 2002, due to higher rate debt and interest expense on delayed or terminated energy supplier contracts.

A detailed discussion of Sierra Pacific Resources’ second quarter 2003 financial results is contained in the company’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2003, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 8, 2003, and is available without charge through the EDGAR system at the SEC’s website. The Form 10-Q report also will be posted on the Sierra Pacific Resources website, www.sierrapacificresources.com .

About Sierra Pacific Resources

Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for most of southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific Power Company also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada. Other subsidiaries include the Tuscarora Gas Pipeline Company, which owns a 50 percent interest in an interstate natural gas transmission partnership.