PNM, AVANGRID merger to bring increased rate, economic development benefits with safeguards

Published on August 03, 2021 by Chris Galford

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As part of a merger, PNM Resources, Inc. subsidiary the Joint Applicants Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and AVANGRID last week agreed to boost rate benefits and economic development contributions, restrict base rate changes until next year, and activate customer protections.

While the merger is between PNM Resources and AVANGRID, New Mexico customers of PNM stand to benefit. For starters, PNM will not be relocated as a result of the merger with its parent company. Rather, it will remain based in New Mexico, will local management. As a result of the merger, the company will also boost customer rate benefits from $24.6 million to $88 million and refrain from changing its base rates or adding tariffs before June 1, 2022.

This money will benefit numerous areas. The bulk — $65 million in all — will go directly to rate credits. Another $15 million will aid low-income energy efficiency assistance. Additionally, $6 million will benefit COVID arrearages relief. The remaining $2 million will help improve access to electricity for low-income New Mexicans, with a strong focus on remote areas.

“We have continued to talk with parties, listen to their proposals and come to agreement on numerous items to provide additional benefits and safeguards to our customers and ensure this merger will move New Mexico forward,” Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president and CEO of PNM Resources, said. “Our employees, customers, and communities will benefit for years to come from the collaboration between parties that have resulted in these commitments.”

Other benefits include economic development projects for the state, which will reach a $15 million investment as part of the deal. What’s more: they will be in addition to previous commitments, not in place of them. Full-time jobs will be added along the way. Employees will benefit in that regard, as will customers who will benefit from new measuring, monitoring, and reporting practices to guarantee reliability.

Beyond this, the companies have also agreed to continue commitments to provide $12.5 million for indigenous communities in the Four Corners region, which will specifically go toward park street lighting, the installation of a new substation, energy efficiency and solar programs, environmental studies, and revisions to the Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Procurement Program, among others.

As for PNM Resources and AVANGRID, this step means that most pieces are now in place for the merger. Already, five federal agencies and the Public Utilities Commission of Texas have signed off. Only the approval of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission remains necessary.