* Q1 loss $0.01/shr vs est EPS $0.01
* Q1 oper rev down 5 pct at $717 mln vs est $731.49 mln
April 26 (Reuters) - Power company NV Energy Inc NVE.N posted a surprise first-quarter loss, weighed down by a 12 percent drop in operating revenue from the electricity business at its unit Sierra Pacific Power Co.
For the quarter, the company posted a consolidated net loss of $1.7 million, or 1 cent a share, compared with a consolidated net loss of $22.2 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year ago quarter.
Operating revenue fell 5 percent to $717 million. Revenue from the electricity business was $209 million at Sierra Pacific, which also provides natural gas in northern Nevada and parts of California.
Analysts on average expected the company to post a profit of 1 cent a share, on revenue of $731.5 million.
Power producers have been hit hard in recent years as weak demand for electricity has taken its toll on power prices.
Shares of the Las Vegas-based company closed at $12.80 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)