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Business Owners Protest NV Energy | News

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Business Owners Protest NV Energy
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LAS VEGAS -- A year of frustration for Downtown Las Vegas businesses nearly destroyed in a transformer explosion ends with few changes. Store owners and employees protested against NV Energy, claiming the company is responsible for them teetering on bankruptcy.

The answers from both NV Energy and Southwest Gas did not please store owners along Main Street. Both utility companies claim the money for damages is coming, it just needs to follow a process. But store owners say one year and counting is too long to wait.

Most Main Street store's insurance money is running out -- in some cases at the end of this month. As protesters look at NV Energy's new transformer, they are demanding the utility pay up.

"Every day that goes by, they make money. Every day that goes by for me, I lose money. It's not a fair equation," said Attic Owner Mayra Politis.

That frustration is now told on the walls of the former Attic building. A giant comic strip shows the surprise of the explosion, the months of waiting, news reports about NV Energy claiming they would pay some of the business damages, to anger that nothing has been done one year later.

There's one panel remaining on the wall because the owner of The Attic does not know how the story is going to end.

In a statement, NV Energy blames the explosion on a gas main leak, adding, "We will continue to review unresolved claims on a case by case basis and work in the most expedient and beneficial manner with all parties involved."

NV Energy says they have paid the claims of one third of stores affected.

Avalante Painting & Plasters says their repairs were paid for, but their claim was less than $10,000. But what about business owners who claim higher damages?

Diana Warby, owner of Drapery Hardware, gave NV Energy all her receipts. "I asked them if they need any verification or explanation and they won't really discuss it with me," she said.

Southwest Gas isn't taking the blame for the explosion, but won't give any date when their investigation will be complete. They add in a statement, "We have seen nothing that would lead us to believe that the gas leak was caused by anything other than excavation damage."

In other words, no one is willing to step up and say the explosion was their fault.

Both companies are looking to set up a mediation process. There is no word yet on how long that process will take.

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