Public Service Company of New Mexico submitted a new rate case agreement Tuesday to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, after two hearing examiners for the commission rejected an earlier proposal, saying it wouldn’t affect all customers equally and that its complexity would have overburdened regulators.
The utility’s new deal with state agencies, businesses and environmental groups involved in the case doesn’t change the total rate increase the company seeks — 9.2 percent over two years, beginning in 2018. But a PNM spokesman said the document addresses hearing examiners’ concerns that some customers would see steeper rate increases than others.
Pahl Shipley said the new agreement also removed a request to accelerate how quickly PNM can recover costs associated with two coal plants that face potential retirement.
PNM, the state’s largest electricity provider, has negotiated agreements with the Attorney General’s Office, Wal-Mart Stores East, the Sierra Club and others involved in a rate case first filed in December, in which the company seeks to recover capital investment costs and revenue losses resulting from customers’ energy-efficiency measures.
The case originally sought to redeem $99.2 million from customers over two years.
The current proposal would raise $62.3 million over two years.
Mariel Nanasi, director of New Energy Economy, a persistent critic of PNM and a stakeholder in the case, has opposed the rate increase since December and still intends to contest the case.
“Our big issue is that when PNM had the choice whether to exit the Four Corners Coal Plant in 2013 they did no financial analysis and this is really the first case that is dealing with the costs associated with that further investment,” she said.
Nanasi said PNM is asking customers to repay them for an unwise investments in coal that have never been shown to be in the best interest of New Mexico ratepayers. She said those investments account for nearly a third of the amount PNM is seeking to redeem from customers now.
“Why should we pay any costs for that?” she said. “The law says any that ratepayers should not pay for the bad decisions of utility management.”
A hearing examiner for the commission will review the new agreement before the case can proceed.
Contact Rebecca Moss at 505-986-3011 or email@example.com.