Critics of the proposed merger between PNM and Avangrid scored a victory Tuesday when an official ordered Avangrid’s parent company to be named a participant in the matter.
The ruling by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission’s hearing examiner says Iberdrola of Spain, Avangrid’s parent company, must be seen as a full participant in the proposal to merge Public Service Company of New Mexico with Connecticut-based Avangrid.
The hearing examiner, Ashley Schannauer, is a recommending official in the case for the Public Regulation Commission. His 33-page ruling orders Iberdrola to officially join PNM and Avangrid in the case.
“Iberdrola currently participates in the case in every way except as a named party,” Schannauer’s opinion says.
The merger would bring PNM together with the much bigger Avangrid. But Avangrid’s parent company, Iberdrola, until now hasn’t been named a participant in the case. Public hearings in the proposed merger are scheduled for numerous days in August.
Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and New Energy Economy of Santa Fe argued Iberdrola clearly is a participant.
New Energy Economy leader Mariel Nanasi said Avangrid is the “puppet” while “puppeteer” Iberdrola pulls the strings. Among other arguments critics have made include Iberdrola’s contention that it’s not subject to Maine courts in matters pertaining to an Avangrid subsidiary in that state.
They also argued Iberdrola hired New Mexico attorney Marcus Rael this year to exert influence over interested parties.
The Attorney General’s Office joined PNM and Avangrid in arguing that naming Iberdrola in the merger proposal was unnecessary.