PNM's Electricity Rate Increase Rejected

$100 million request determined to be incomplete

Public Regulation commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to reject an electricity rate increase proposal from the Public Service Company of New Mexico. While the average proposed rate increase would have been about 12 percent across all customer categories, the plan would have hit residential and small businesses customers with bills that were 16 percent higher.

The final decision by the

follows an earlier recommendation from Carolyn Glick, a New Mexico PRC hearing examiner, who recommend a “no” vote in April after criticizing PNM for failing to provide sufficient information to support its proposed rate increase and called on the commissioners to reject PNM’s rate hike proposal.

PRC Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, whose district includes Santa Fe County, tells SFR that she couldn’t vote for the increase because the amounts were based on estimates.

“Today’s decision lays the groundwork for future decisions and shows the utility that it needs to get it right,” says Espinoza. “PNM should consider the impact on New Mexico consumers and their pocketbooks.”

Nellis Kennedy Howard, who manages the Sierra Club of New Mexico’s Beyond Coal campaign, says PNM's rate application would have required consumers to cover the utilities San Juan Generating Station costs.

“We applaud our officials on the Public Regulation Commission for protecting New Mexico families and ratepayers by rejecting PNM’s risky, expensive, and unsupported rate hike scheme. PNM’s plans to continue burning coal at the San Juan Generating Station threatens the financial security of New Mexico families, the health of our communities, and the opportunities for our state to transition to more clean energy jobs," she says.

Environmental groups and renewable energy advocates had urged the commissioners to vote against the rate plan because it also would have added a tax to homeowners and businesses with solar roof panels to help offset PNM’s electrical grid operational costs.

“PNM is required under the law to file a complete case–one that provides a transparent basis for its figures to legitimate its rate hikes. PNM’s failure to comply with the law prejudices the public because PNM did not fully describe, justify or support their rate application with adequate documentation. Ratepayers deserve transparency from PNM and PRC’s unanimous vote holds PNM accountable,” states Mariel Nanasi, executive director,


Late this afternoon, PNM sent a statement to SFR  saying the company disagrees with the hearing examiner’s recommendation and today’s vote because it creates uncertainty for consumers and regulated companies in New Mexico.

“In fact, the decision disregards the Commission’s own precedent which found a similar filing met the standards of a future test year case. The Commission’s rules regarding whether a rate filing is complete should not be inconsistent,” PNM spokeswoman Jodi McGinnis writes in an email. “This type of inconsistent decision-making creates uncertainty for consumers and regulated companies in New Mexico. It also sends a strong message that New Mexico is not business friendly and will likely affect important economic development efforts.”

PNM executives, McGinnis writes, are still considering their options and could appeal today’s decision if it determines that’s in the “best interest of consumers.”

PNM will have the opportunity to refile its application once the company is able to show actual costs.

PRC commissioners are still considering the utility's

an additional coal-generated power from the San Juan Generating Station and 134 megawatts of nuclear power from the Palo Verde plant in Arizona.

A vote on that matter has not been scheduled, but a another hearing examiner has also recommended commissioners reject PNM’s preferred plan.

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