New Mexico Public Regulation Commission sets procedural schedule for PNM Resources, Avangrid merger

Published on June 02, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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The planned merger between PNM Resources and Avangrid remains on track as it goes through the regulatory approval process.

On May 28, the Hearing Examiner for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) set the remaining schedule for the amended stipulation in the merger. The schedule comes after Avangrid submitted materials that addressed the Hearing Examiner’s questions about its Northeastern regional utility subsidiaries. The filing demonstrated that Avangrid utilities’ storm preparedness and response compared favorably to other utilities in the region.

“We are very pleased with the hearing examiner’s decision to allow the stipulated agreement to be heard,” Dennis Arriola, CEO of Avangrid, said. “The support of so many entities from New Mexico as well as individuals is encouraging. We continue to listen to stakeholders, and we hope additional parties will sign on to the stipulation in support of the merger.”

NMPRC established a schedule of Aug. 11-20 for evidentiary hearings on the stipulated agreement among PNM, Avangrid, and 13 other parties and stakeholders. The parties include the Attorney General of the State of New Mexico, Western Resource Advocates, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611, Dine Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, Nava Education Project, San Juan Citizens Alliance, To Nizhoni Ani, the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, Interwest Energy Alliance, Walmart, Onward Energy Holdings, M-S-R Power and Los Alamos County.

The customer benefits in the stipulation include $50 million in customer rate credits over three years; $6 million in COVID arrearages relief for customers; $15 million for low-income customer energy-efficiency assistance; and $2 million to bring electricity to low-income, remote customers.

It also includes additional economic development for New Mexico, including 150 new full-time jobs over three years; $7.5 million in additional economic development funds; $12.5 million in economic development contributions to community groups in the Four Corners region over five years; improvements to the energy transition displaced worker assistance fund relating to the closure of the San Juan Generating Station; and free access to streetlighting poles for local governments for wireless internet access for three years.

Avangrid has already received six governmental approvals for the merger.