May 14, 2015
In yet another victory for New Mexico ratepayers, yesterday the PRC unanimously voted to reject PNM’s entire rate case, upholding hearing examiner Carolyn Glick’s recommended decision that stated PNM’s application was incomplete. After several parties became aware that some of PNM’s numbers had been manually entered into spreadsheets without explanation, it became clear the numbers could not be substantiated and that they had reached a “dead end” in attempts to verify their origin, said Glick. The linchpin of a rate request is the itemized justification behind the numerical values asserted by the utility, and it is impossible for intervenors to test the fairness, justness or reasonableness of PNM’s request for a rate increase when the company has failed to justify or explain its claims.
This decision is only further proof of PNM’s disregard for the law and any efforts to uphold transparency. As we saw in the profit report New Energy Economy published earlier this week, PNM’s skyrocketing profits are a direct result of incremental rate increases on residential & small business owners. PNM is required under the law to provide a transparent basis for its figures to legitimate its rate hikes. Unfortunately, PNM has a habit of burying its malfeasance in hidden, absent or fabricated data. PNM’s $100 million rate increase as filed skirts the law and the public deserves full disclosure at a minimum. Ratepayers deserve transparency from PNM and PRC’s unanimous vote holds PNM accountable.
The now-dismissed rate case also included PNM’s proposal to charge a monthly $6/kW fee to customers with rooftop solar, as well as purchase emissions control equipment at the San Juan coal plant. With the replacement power plan still awaiting a vote, why would New Mexicans allow our utility to invest more money in an aging coal plant?
Thank you to our unprecedented coalition of intervenors who jointly filed and argued for the rejection of this case, and to all our supporters who have who have opposed PNM’s financial practices and dangerous energy resource choices. There’s very good reason for the increasing public scrutiny and skepticism of this utility.
—New Energy Economy