New Energy Economy made a filing at both the PRC and the NM Supreme Court questioning the legality of the PRC's decision to reconsider the final order denying the merger. PNM's planned effort to "cure" its Open Meetings Act violations with a public meeting tomorrow, April 19th, is therefore unlawful.
Our filing explains why the PRC cannot arbitrarily decide to reconsider the merger denial because it offends the Principle of Finality - the decision of a duly elected or appointed regulatory body is considered final until and unless significant new evidence emerges. If new evidence was introduced to cause the PRC to have good cause for reconsideration, that new evidence was not shared with all the parties in the case - the PRC made this agreement with PNM and Avangrid/Iberdrola in the course of exclusively ex parte communications to which none of the other parties in the case were privy, including the Attorney General, who has the statutory responsibility to represent the public and ratepayers in proceedings such as this one. If new evidence was not introduced, then the PRC’s decision to reconsider the merger denial is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Principle of Finality.
Furthermore, the PRC does not have jurisdiction to make any decisions or to conduct any meetings related to reconsideration or reopening of a final order while the case remains on appeal at the Supreme Court. Any public meeting intended to cure their violation of the Open Meetings Act and publicly vote to reconsider the rejection of the merger remains unlawful while jurisdiction remains with the Supreme Court.
It is important to note that the PRC is not in the position of a plaintiff considering filing a complaint in court, or a defendant in a case it is considering settling. It was and is the tribunal conducting and deciding this contested case, and effectively aligned itself with one side, without notice to the other parties, when it made the decision to proceed with a rehearing and reconsideration.
To the extent that the PRC intends to address, vote on, “cure” or otherwise take up its ex parte decision to reconsider the final decision in this case, it will be acting unlawfully unless it intends to vote at this meeting to withdraw its filing in the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Hold onto your hats, because these are the crazy legal twists and turns that Avangrid and Iberdrola are infamous for all over the world. Where they operate they lawyer up, abuse the legal and regulatory process, and use their financial clout to get their way. Avangrid and Iberdrola incorporate fines and penalties levied against them as a cost of doing business.
The PRC's agenda includes “Discussion and Potential Action on Proposed Joint Motion for Stipulated Dismissal of Appeal and Remand for Rehearing and Reconsideration,”on April 19, 2023, beginning at 1:30 PM, under Item #IX.
SIGN UP BY 5:00PM TO SPEAK UP AGAINST THE MERGER AT THE PRC'S PUBLIC MEETING TOMORROW
Join us in speaking out against these violations of the law and the public's right to know and participate in NM government processes. Please comment publicly at the PRC this Wednesday, April 19 at 1:30 PM. Public commenters are allowed to speak for 3 minutes each.
Here's how you can sign up for public comment at the PRC:
The public may comment in person at the Bokum Building located at 142 W. Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, or via Zoom or by telephone. To sign up for public comment please contact Hans Muller via email Hans.Muller@prc.nm.gov or phone at (505) 795-2753 no later than 5:00 p.m. the day before the meeting (sign up by 5 PM TODAY, Tuesday, 4/18), and indicate how you will provide comments (in person, by Zoom, or by phone).
If you need inspiration, consider watching last week's shocking panel about Avangrid/Iberdrola's proposed buyout of PNM, including it's track record of abusive customer service practices, rate increases and climate greenwashing worldwide. You can watch it here:
OUTRAGED? GET INVOLVED
PNM and Avangrid just announced an extension of the their merger agreement until July 20th as their motion to the Supreme Court to dismiss their appeal of the former PRC's rejection and remand the case back to the new PRC is considered. There is no formal timeline for the Supreme Court's decision on the motion jointly filed by the companies and the PRC, so meanwhile we hope that the public will actively get involved in giving the PRC a piece of their minds! Click the button below to tell us how you can get involved - whether that is talking to your friends, giving public comment, inviting us to come to your event or writing to the paper. The public's voice is of critical importance.