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Senior PNM VP Admits ETA Gives PNM 100% Bailout of ALL Coal Plants, Gas Plants, Nuclear Investments

Today marks day two of the evidentiary hearing for the San Juan Generating Station Abandonment Case and already Senior Vice President Ronald Darnell admits that the Energy Transition Act Gives PNM 100% bailout for ALL its coal plants, gas plants, and nuclear investments. PNM admitted to what New Energy Economy has been stating and warning against since the Energy Transition Act (ETA) was pending in the legislature. Under the ETA there is NO ability for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) to modify or alter those PNM requests to protect the public interest.

New Energy Economy asked Mr. Darnell, Senior Vice President for PNM this question and he gave this answer:

Q.: And is it your understanding, as we've just discussed, that that means that the Commission is forbidden from disallowing cost recovery for undepreciated investments or decommissioning costs from any of PNM's investments in Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the Four Corners Power Plant or any of its gas plants? A.: Certainly any assets that are part of the utility’s rate base and what this portion of the Energy Transition Act says.

Artist Bobbe Besold

Mr. Darnell (and another PNM witness Lauren Azar) admitted that the Commission has no ability to modify or alter PNM’s financing order request even to balance the interests between shareholder investors and customers and/or to ensure that there are just and reasonable rates for customers. Lauren Azar is paid $580 per hour for her live testimony and $480 an hour for all other work and travel. PNM witness Frank Graves of the Brattle Group has received $225,000, not including his testimony for this hearing.

New Energy Economy (NEE), joined by other Co-Petitioners, has challenged unconstitutional provisions of the Energy Transition Act (ETA) passed by the New Mexico legislature and signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

In other related news, the hearing for 19-00102 regarding the effect on ratepayers by PNM’s purchase of Palo Verde nuclear generating station Units 1 and 2, was pushed back until next week. 

Thank you for your support, and stay tuned!

You may listen to live AUDIO of the PRC Evidentiary Hearing here. Hearings begin at 9AM on weekdays through December 19th. *the audio stream system being used by PRC is only supported by Windows Media.


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