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Morning Word: PNM's Rate Increase Request Deemed 'Astonishing'

August 5, 2016, 7:25 am
Rate Increase Request Slashed
An independent hearing examiner at the Public Regulation Commission says the Public Service Company of New Mexico didn’t do enough to study alternative energy options and recommended the investor-owned utility only get a third of the rate increase it has requested. If commissioners vote to accept the recommendation later this year, ratepayers could save up $300 million a year.

Data Center’s Power Plan Details Emerge
Still, PNM could have a big new customer if Facebook decides to build its new data center in Los Lunas. Paperwork filed at the PRC in Santa Fe shows the social media giant could spend up to $31 million a year for solar-generated power.

Harmful Pollution Investigated
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights has decided to investigate complaints that air quality policies in Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque permit the build-up of harmful pollution in neighborhoods predominantly populated by minorities.  

Health Secretary Skips Medical Pot Meeting
The state agency responsible for managing public health is actually creating a public health crisis for its failure to process medical cannabis patients' registration cards and renewals quickly, according to State Auditor Tim Keller. He told lawmakers the registration delays could lead to “massive payouts” if patients opt to file lawsuits. Members of the interim Disabilities Concerns Subcommittee had hoped to grill health department officials in Santa Fe Thursday afternoon, but no one from the agency attended the committee meeting.
State Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, a Santa Fe Democrat, said she had “personally invited” Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher to the hearing at the state Capitol, “and asked her to please be here for this meeting. She gave me all indication she would be.” 
But she learned Wednesday that Gallagher had been “confused” about the timing, Rodriguez said. She “almost begged” Gallagher to send someone else to participate in Thursday’s discussion, she said, but was told “they were too busy.” 
“To not show up is outrageous,” said state Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Bernalillo, whose daughter [Erin] is one of the namesakes of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act — the statute that paved the way for medical marijuana in the state.
Records Evidence Ordered Released
A state district court judge has ordered the City of Albuquerque to provide a copy of the former Albuquerque Police Department’s records custodian hard drive to attorneys of the man who is now suing the department. Reynaldo Chavez claims he was often ordered to violate the state’s open records laws.

Former PED Employee Arrested
New Mexico State Police arrested Charles Trujillo, the former Mora Public Schools Superintendent and head of the Public Education Department’s Licensure Bureau. Trujillo is charged with multiple counts of forgery and for faking his own licensing credentials.

Campaign Aide Under Investigation for Voter Fraud
The New Mexico Attorney General’s office is taking over a voter fraud case in an Española city council race involving questionable absentee ballots.

Moderate Drought Conditions Remain
It may be raining around New Mexico this week, but more than a quarter of the state remains under moderate drought conditions after record heat in July. The National Weather Service reports there were 11 record highs that were tied or broken during July in New Mexico, including 18 days of 100 degree or higher temperatures. 

Trump Campaign in Crisis
With less than 100 days before the presidential election, polls show Republican Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton in swing states, including Florida and Ohio. It’s gotten so bad that even the Albuquerque Journal thinks Trump “should step aside and let a statesman run.”

Wise Upgrade
UNM Lobo basketball fans will be able to watch hoops and chase Pokemon. The Wifi system at Wise Pies Arena is getting an upgrade ahead of the 2016-2017 season.

Weekend Calendar Full of Fun Events

With only a week or so before students head back to school, there’s still a ton of fun stuff to do this summer. Use SFR’s online event calendar to help plan your weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.


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