The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has approved a $61.2 million rate increase for Public Service Co. of New Mexico, a little under half of the $121 million increase the utility sought.
The long-running and contentious rate case centered on the utility’s request to include spending for nuclear power purchases and leases and pollution control equipment at a large coal-fired plant.
The utility company says it plans to appeal the PRC’s decision in the New Mexico Supreme Court.
Public Service Co. of New Mexico, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNM Resources (PNM), has been locked in a contentious rate case for nearly two years.
The utility’s originally requested $121 million in rate relief, but PRC staff recommended that be reduced to $41 million in August.
In the end, the PRC granted PNM a higher rate, $61 million, but still far below its original request.
The case revolved around the utility’s purchase of 64 MW of nuclear power from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station for $163.5 million and the extension of leases at Palo Verde for $19.5 million a year, as well as the installation of $52.3 million of air pollution controls at the coal-fired San Juan plant.
The approval will trigger a 10.2% rate increase for the average PNM customer’s bill, compared with a 14.4% increase under PNM’s original proposal and a 6% increase under PRC staff’s recommendation.
"We are, however, disappointed that the Commission discounted the value of these critical carbon-free assets,” Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM's chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “After completing our review of the final written order, we will appeal these items and any other appropriate issues to the New Mexico Supreme Court."