Analyst must answer questions about PRC meetings

It looks like Anthony Crowdell, the equity utility analyst from Jefferies LLC — a New York-based investment bank and equity firm — will have to answer questions at a deposition about his meetings in May with two state Public Regulation commissioners and other PRC officials.

Late last week, Ashley Schannauer, the commissioner’s hearing examiner in the controversial San Juan Generating Station case, issued a subpoena to Crowdell to appear at a deposition. It’s yet to be determined where and when the deposition will take place.

STEVE TERRELL

Roundhouse Roundup

 Posted: Saturday, August 8, 2015 7:00 pm | Updated: 6:01 pm, Wed Aug 19, 2015.

It looks like Anthony Crowdell, the equity utility analyst from Jefferies LLC — a New York-based investment bank and equity firm — will have to answer questions at a deposition about his meetings in May with two state Public Regulation commissioners and other PRC officials.

Late last week, Ashley Schannauer, the commissioner’s hearing examiner in the controversial San Juan Generating Station case, issued a subpoena to Crowdell to appear at a deposition. It’s yet to be determined where and when the deposition will take place.

In requesting the subpoena, New Energy Economy — a clean energy advocacy group that opposes Public Service Company of New Mexico’s plans to replace two of the four units at the San Juan power plant — wrote, “New Energy would take Mr. Crowdell’s deposition either in New Mexico or New York, depending on Mr. Crowdell’s availability, with the date and location to be filled in by New Energy Economy after consultation with PNM, Mr. Crowdell or his lawyer, and with other parties who may wish to attend. If Mr. Crowdell will not accept service, New Energy Economy will domesticate the subpoena in New York pursuant to New York law. …”

As first reported a couple of months ago in this column, four months after Crowdell had downgraded its rating of PNM stock, he reversed himself after a trip to Santa Fe that included meetings with two members of the Public Regulation Commission.

In a May 27 email to potential investors, Crowdell wrote, “After visiting New Mexico we are upgrading PNM to Buy from Hold and anticipate the [commission] will approve the [San Juan Generating Station] agreement in the June/July time frame. Jefferies believes the economic consequences of shutting down a coal plant in a struggling economy will outweigh environmental concerns.”

That email was sent only hours before the commission voted to give PNM a time extension in order to allow the utility to to finalize agreements with a Colorado coal company and new partners in a planned ownership restructuring. The utility has said it submitted all those agreements by the Aug. 1 deadline.

Emails between Crowdell and commission staffers — obtained in a public records request — provide a few details that were missing from my previous column on Crowdell.

For instance, back in June, nobody, including commissioners as well as Crowdell himself, could recall the exact date of his visit. It was Tuesday, May 19.

And the emails show it was Crowdell himself, not the commissioners and not PNM, who instigated the meetings. Crowdell, of course, has had meetings with PNM officials. Among the exhibits in the voluminous filings in the San Juan case is a June 25 receipt from Bones, an Atlanta steakhouse. The four guests listed on the receipt include PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn, two other PNM officials and Anthony Crowdell. The total cost of the meal, including tip, was $566. That was a few days after my first column on Crowdell was published.

For reasons unclear, the public records I received last week from the PRC included no correspondence to or from Commissioner Pat Lyons, R-Cuervo, even though Lyons told me in June that he and a commission lawyer had met with Crowdell.

Though there was a “Dear Valerie” email, the documents I received had no response from Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, D-Santa Fe, to Crowdell. She told me in June that she didn’t meet with him.

As far as the other commissioners go, a staffer for Commissioner Lynda Lovejoy, D-Crownpoint, declined the invitation.

Robert Hirasuna, a staffer for Commissioner Sandy Jones, wrote, “Both Commissioner Jones and I were out of the office on travel this week. I just got back in late last night. Would you be available to meet with Commissioner Jones next week Wednesday?” Crowdell replied that he had a flight out of Santa Fe on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 19. Hirasuna replied, “Let us know the next time you’re in Santa Fe and we’ll schedule a meeting.” Hirasuna did manage to meet with Crowdell, along with Commissioner Karen Montoya, D-Albuquerque.

PRC Chief of Staff Vince Martinez also told me in June that he met with Crowdell when he was in town. The emails the commission gave me indicate that Dwight Lamberson, who at the time was the commission’s Utilities Division director, also agreed to meet with the analyst. Lamberson has since retired.

Contact Steve Terrell at sterrell@sfnewmexican.com. Read his political blog attinyurl.com/roundhouseroundup.


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