Public News Service: From Gas to Electric – New Energy Controversy Over PNM Rate Hike

February 2011

SANTA FE, N.M. – As New Mexico’s natural gas crisis appears to be drawing to a close, a new energy controversy is heating up. On Tuesday, six groups filed their official opposition to PNM’s latest proposal for a rate hike on electricity.

Steve Michel is chief counsel for the Western Resource Advocates energy program, Santa Fe, one of the groups that opposes the potential price increase. He sees numerous problems with the proposal, including that the negotiations took place behind closed doors.

“They didn’t allow other parties with concerns and issues to participate in that and, as a result, they came out with a very bad deal that does not fairly address the company’s needs, and does not fairly address the needs of customers.”

The proposal was negotiated between PNM and staff members of the New Mexico Attorney General and Public Regulation Commission. For residential customers, it could mean an electric rate increase of as much as 25 percent. PNM says the hike is necessary in the face of rising costs.

Michel points out that, while PNM is asking for $85 million in rate increases, the proposal includes a few “riders” that could mean even more increases.

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