- PNM Resources and Avangrid have extended the deadline for their $8 billion merger agreement through July 20 for the companies to “work together through the regulatory review process in New Mexico.” State regulators have signaled a willingness to reconsider their 2021 denial of the deal.
- PNM and Avangrid appealed their merger rejection to the New Mexico Supreme Court and in March the state’s Public Regulation Commission joined the two utilities in requesting the appeal be dismissed. That sets the stage for the case to be remanded to the PRC for further debate and reconsideration.
- New Mexico customer advocates say they fear “abysmal” customer service and reliability if Avangrid is allowed to purchase PNM. “We don't want to fall victim to their history of outages and unreliability,” Mariel Nanasi, executive director and president of New Energy Economy, said Wednesday.
The PNM-Avangrid merger has already been approved by federal agencies and the Public Utility Commission of Texas. But New Mexico advocates say they worry that regulators will lose local control over the utility.
Connecticut-based Avangrid owns eight electric and natural gas utilities in the Northeast and New England, and is itself owned by Bilbao, Spain-based Iberdrola.
Nanasi pointed to diminished service quality and high rates at Avangrid’s utilities. “Their emphasis on lining the pockets of investors at the expense of customer service is part of their exploitation playbook,” Nanasi said.
Avangrid estimates its proposed acquisition will bring more than $300 million in benefits to New Mexico and more than $16 million in rate relief to Texas customers.
“We will accelerate Texas and New Mexico’s clean energy futures and increase the focus on reliability and resiliency for customers,” Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra said in a statement.
“We also understand that we are an anchor institution in the communities we serve, beyond just the services we provide,” he said. “Through this merger, we will contribute to the economic development of the regions and support their continued vibrancy and prosperity.”
The PNM-Avangrid merger was rejected by the PRC two years ago but New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D, in December appointed a new slate of commissioners, which opened the door for possible reconsideration. And regulators have held closed-door sessions in recent months, to discuss the proposed acquisition.