The Latest: New Mexico utility weighs latest rate proposal
Jan. 18, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on a proposed rate increase by New Mexico's largest electric utility (all times local):
Officials with New Mexico's largest electric utility have yet to say whether they will support the latest revision of a proposed rate increase that has been approved by state regulators.
A divided Public Regulation Commission approved the measure on a 3-2 vote during a meeting Wednesday.
The panel gave Public Service Co. of New Mexico and other parties that have been involved in negotiations over the past year until Friday to sign off on the revamped proposal.
Utility spokesman Pahl Shipley says company officials are still reviewing the proposal.
The commission's proposal calls spreading out a roughly 1 percent increase over two years. The utility's calculations show the average increase would likely be closer to 1.4 percent after other adjustments are factored in.
A divided panel of state regulators has once again revised an order that would clear the way for a rate increase for customers of New Mexico's largest electric utility.
The Public Regulation Commission voted 3-2 during a meeting Wednesday in favor of a proposal that calls for a rate hike over two years of about 1 percent.
Public Service Co. of New Mexico had asked for the earlier proposal to be recalculated, arguing that the commission sought to reduce the utility's revenue requirement by too much. The dispute centered mostly on debt related to a coal-fired power plant.
Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, who voted against the proposal, said the commission should not have accepted a counteroffer from the utility.
The attorney general's office, consumer advocates and other parties involved in the initial negotiations must still sign off on the latest order. The commission set the deadline for Friday.
A major credit rating agency has given New Mexico's largest electric utility and its parent company a negative outlook as state regulators look to resolve questions over a proposed rate increase.
PNM Resources says the outlook by Standard & Poor's moves the family of companies in the direction of a credit rating downgrade.
The agency cited a challenging regulatory environment and pointed to the financial effects of a decision last week by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to order a lower rate increase for utility customers.
The commission also put off a decision on whether the utility's investments in a coal-fired power plant were prudent.
The commission on Wednesday is scheduled to take up the rate increase again as several parties that were initially involved in the negotiations need to sign off.