By Joseph Maestas, PRC Commissioner
With less than 1.5 years remaining on our terms, I and my fellow Public Regulation Commissioners (PRC) have plenty of work to do. We are focused on implementing New Mexico’s clean energy transition, including grid modernization and community solar, and advocating for increased resources to ensure a smooth transition to an appointed PRC on January 1, 2023, while continuing our core duties of scrutinizing utility company activities and proposals. One of the most significant cases currently before us is the proposed merger of Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and Avangrid, a Connecticut-based subsidiary of Iberdrola a Spanish company.
A number of other parties intervened in the merger case and began gathering information through the discovery process, negotiating additional terms of the proposal with PNM and Avangrid, and presenting expert testimony and legal arguments for or against the agreement. Initially, most of these intervenors opposed the merger but many have now agreed to a “stipulation” that places additional requirements on PNM. The stipulation, filed on June 4, is available for public viewing here: https://www.pnmresources.com/~/media/Files/P/PNM-Resources/rates-and-filings/Merger%20Filings/NMPRC%20Filing/20-00222-UT%20-%202021-06-04%20-%20Notice%20of%20Filing%202nd%20Amended%20Stipulation.pdf.
The Commission’s Utility Division staff, Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, and New Energy Economy are officially opposed to this newest stipulation. The New Mexico Affordable Reliable Energy Alliance was opposed to the stipulation and recently stated they have come to an agreement with PNM to support the proposed merger. The City of Albuquerque is a party to the case but has not taken a position on the most recent stipulation.
The PRC is holding public hearings on the stipulation soon, with a public comment hearing set for 9:00 a.m. on August 9, and an evidentiary hearing beginning on August 11 with formal arguments from the parties in the case and testimony from their witnesses. We have allotted enough time for the evidentiary hearing to continue through August 20, if necessary.
To sign-up to make public comment, please contact Ana Kippenbrock at An*************@st***.us. The public can watch the August hearings, live or on recording, on the PRC’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLzHnXeUx413Bxc8g2oXGA.
The Commission is charged with investigating the proposed merger, holding a public hearing, and taking action consistent with the public interest. The Commission designated a hearing examiner to oversee the proceeding and, at its conclusion, submit a recommendation for the Commission to consider. There is no deadline for the Commission to take final action in this case.