September 22, 2011
Contact: Mariel Nanasi 505-469-4060
PNM Contradicts Its Own Sworn Testimony on Pollution Control Costs
New Mexico Utility Cites Conflicting Cost Estimates to Public and Regulators
Santa Fe – A review of published statements, testimony under oath and sworn affidavits has revealed important discrepancies among the cost figures PNM, New Mexico’s largest utility, is using to estimate the cost of pollution control measures, Select Catalytic Reduction (SCR), that the US EPA is requiring the company to install at its coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. In documents provided to the EPA, PNM estimates the cost of SCR installation to be $908 million. In an Op-Ed piece published by the Santa Fe New Mexican on September 19, 2011, PNM’s Vice President for Generation, Pat Themig, wrote that PNM estimates the SCR technology will cost $750 million or more. In a recent New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) hearing, Mr. Themig testified under oath that the same SCR installation would cost $420 million.
In a sworn affidavit submitted to the EPA on September 16, 2011, PNM’s Executive Director for Generation Planning, N. Evelin Wheeler estimated the SCR installation costs through 2013 to be $246.1 million with PNM’s share being $112.8 million. In another sworn affidavit submitted to the EPA on the same day, PNM Resource’s Vice President and Treasurer, Terry Horn, acknowledged that based on EPA’s estimated SCR costs, PNM’s share of the cost for the SCR installation at the San Juan plant would be approximately $165 million.
“PNM continues to try to mislead the public and regulators about the costs of complying with pollution control rules,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy. “Their executives use inflated cost estimates when convenient to scare the public and provide regulators with multiple answers to the same question to obfuscate responsibility and lengthen costly legal proceedings.”
Based on the actual costs of SCR installation at twenty-two other coal-fired power units, the National Park Service asserts that PNM inflates the estimated costs for installing SCR at the San Juan coal plant by more than 100 percent.
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