Oral arguments took place yesterday at the Supreme Court for PNM's appeal of the PRC's decision to reject their plan to abandon and sell their shares of the Four Corners Power Plant to Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) in violation of public policy and the law.
At the crux of the PRC's decision to reject the proposed sale was the requirement that an abandonment application must include evidence of adequate and available replacement power options for PRC approval. PNM attempted to argue that its presentation of hypothetical replacement resources was adequate, and that their rush to file for abandonment had nothing to do with Avangrid's desire to ensure that, in the event of a merger, there would be no coal on the books in order to protect Avangrid's undeserved Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) ratings on Wall Street.
In one crucial moment Chief Justice Bacon asked if PNM was asking the court to grant abandonment without replacement power when it is the PRC that has the expertise to ensure adequate resources. Another Justice opined that it appeared PNM was asking them to rubber stamp an inadequate application that the PRC had already rejected. PNM was forced to admit that it had the results of completed RFP's but had not included those results in the record when it submitted its application to the PRC.
Sierra Club lawyer Jason Marks argued that the Energy Transition Act expressly forbids the sale of coal assets to another entity like NTEC upon abandonment. NTEC, as the coal provider to the plant, has a selfish interest in continuing the burning of coal indefinitely.
We look forward to the Supreme Court opinion and hope that it upholds the PRC's rejection of the coal plant sale and protects the people from the injustice implicit in PNM and Avangrid's cynical plan to offload their toxic coal assets and receive an unjust bailout of $300M from New Mexican ratepayers for the losses they incurred because of their own bad management decision to reinvest in the failing plant in 2016.
PRESS ABOUT THE HEARING
NM Supreme Court hears arguments in Four Corners ownership transfer case - NM Political Report
New Mexico court weighs fight over coal-fired power plant - Santa Fe New Mexican
SUPREME COURT GIVES PARTIES UNTIL APRIL 7TH TO SUBMIT RESPONSES IN PNM AVANGRID MERGER APPEAL
In a blow to the rushed timeline for remand and rehearing by PNM and Avangrid in conjunction with the PRC, an April 12th timeline intended to allow for completion of the merger before PNM and Avangrid's artificial contract deadline of April 20th, the Supreme Court offered parties in the case until April 7th to respond to their motion for dismissal of the appeal. New Mexican's across the state are expressing their outrage at the arrogance of merger proponents, and journalists have covered the issues in the case extensively. A selection from the Albuquerque Journal -
What do PNM-Avangrid merger opponents really want? - March 27th, 2023 - Here’s what merger supporters and opponents have to say about the public-power movement’s influence on the Avangrid-PNM deal.
How a Maine power struggle made its way into New Mexico’s PNM-Avangrid merger debate - March 27th, 2023 - A closer look at how Avangrid’s problems in Maine played a role in the PRC’s deliberations.
More parties weigh in on request before Supreme Court for PRC to rehear PNM-Avangrid merger - March 27th 2023 - At least five intervening parties have now filed responses.
Talk of the Town: PNM/Avangrid merger rejected for good reason - March 26th, 2023 - What’s with PRC’s abrupt about-face?
Avangrid-PNM merger motion: What we know as it moves through the governmental maze - March 24th, 2023 - PNM, Avangrid and the NMPRC request that the New Mexico Supreme Court expeditiously dismiss the pending appeal and remand this matter for rehearing and reconsideration back to the Commission.
Talk of the Town: Readers split on PNM/Avangrid merger 2.0 - March 22nd, 2023 - OPINION: Extensive additional evidence has come to light since the first PRC hearing in 2021.
SpeakUp: Readers sound off against PNM/Avangrid merger - March 21st, 2023 - OPINION: Readers oppose to PNM/Avangrid merger.
And in the meantime news about the greed and mismanagement of Avangrid and its parent company, Iberdrola, continue to surface from New York to Scotland.
Complaints over RG&E billing still spiking despite claims of progress - Feb 9th, 2023
Iberdrola utility Scottish Power worst offender in forcible installation of prepayment meters that cut off electricity in homes automatically once a pre-paid limit has been reached - March 27th, 2023