July 28, 2011
Contact: Mariel Nanasi 505-469-4060
NM Public Regulation Commission Approves Controversial PNM Rate Hike
Santa Fe – The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has approved a $145 million rate increase for the state’s largest utility, PNM. The rate increase has attracted widespread, substantive criticism from a range of interests including business leaders, consumer advocates, commercial property owners and environmental groups. The rate increase package approved by the PRC represents a significant revision of PNM’s original request. The rate formula for residential consumers has been modified and PNM lost about $20 million in future revenue. PNM’s electricity rates have now increased more than forty percent in the last four years and PNM will be able to charge customers even more additional costs in the very near future.
New Energy Economy, a leading opponent of the rate hike, sees the PRC’s approval as the last gasp in a regulatory process and an energy strategy that have fallen behind the times. “PNM and the PRC are pushing New Mexico to the bottom of the list in terms of innovation and economic growth led by the energy sector,” said Mariel Nanasi, New Energy Economy’s Executive Director. “All our neighboring states are moving in a different direction to reap the benefits of energy-related job growth, pollution reduction, safety and reliability. If New Mexico families and businesses could start fresh and choose their optimal energy future, PNM’s outdated coal plants would not be part of the picture.”
Opposition to the rate hike included pointed criticisms around PNM’s myopic dependence on coal. Evidence presented in the PRC hearing described the extensive, negative health and environmental consequences attributable to PNM’s coal-fired power plants, among the highest polluting facilities of their kind in America. Criticism also focused on PNM’s flawed business justification for the rate increase that in effect extends the life of the San Juan Generating Station by an additional thirty years while coal plants of similar age using similarly outdated technology are being closed in large numbers in other states.
About New Energy Economy
New Energy Economy is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization established in 2004 to create economic opportunity in New Mexico with less carbon pollution and more clean energy. New Energy Economy works in partnership with diverse allies to encourage job growth, investment and innovation in a more efficient, sustainable and equitable energy sector. New Energy Economy grounds its work in the research and findings of the world’s leading scientific and technological authorities. Learn more at www.newenergyeconomy.org