May 28, 2015
SANTA FE – While many viewed Wednesday’s action as a time extension, the order signed by the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) sets a hearing on the merits of Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) request for a Certificate of Convenience & Necessity (CCN) for the additional 132 megawatts of the San Juan Generating Station, and requires PNM to file a plan, which could include final, signed agreements, by no later than July 1, 2015 or risk having its CCN application denied.
The finality and cost-effectiveness of the new agreements yet to be signed will be examined by the PRC. The hearing will also address the sufficiency of alternative generation sources to replace the capacity of Units 2 and 3 at the San Juan Generating Station.
If PNM files its plan by the July 1 deadline, the commission will then determine whether the 132 megawatts at San Juan Unit 4 is the most cost-effective resource to replace the capacity of San Juan Units 2 and 3, which PNM proposes to abandon.
Any request to extend the July 1 deadline must be filed no later than June 3 and must be sufficiently supported by specific and verifiable facts. In addition, any request for extension requires a showing of good cause by PNM as to why the requested agreements cannot be executed and filed before July 1. Responses to any such extension request must be filed by June 10.
Under no circumstances will any extension be allowed to extend beyond Aug. 1, 2015, according to the approved order.
In the event PNM fails to file final executed agreements, PNM is ordered to file plans – with supporting testimony – for alternative replacement resources sufficient to replace the capacity of Units 2 and 3.
PRC Chairwoman Karen Montoya stated that she believes that the hearing that was ordered on the merits of the CCN is critical. “The cost information that will come out is an important factor in this decision,” Montoya said.
Commission Vice-Chair Lynda Lovejoy, in her move to accept the order, which went on to garner 4-1 support, stated, “It is time to send a very stern message to PNM. PRC Staff and this commission have worked very hard in keeping with a standard time schedule to avoid unnecessary delays, and the piecemeal documents provided by PNM still are not producing the most important information up to this point.”
Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, who cast the lone dissenting vote on this matter, stated during Wednesday’s meeting, “I think it’s time to vote this thing down once and for all,” drawing applause from a number of those in attendance. “The record has been developed and it’s been closed, and the more opportunities to get signatures isn’t in the best interest of the public,” she continued. “There’s been promises made in the past, and today’s the day. [PNM] has a lot of attorneys, and we have limited resources to be fighting this.”
Commissioner Sandy Jones stated that he’s pleased with the commission’s decision to hold a hearing on PNM’s CCN applicatio rather than continue the hearing on the stipulation that was filed in this case last year. “Until now, the commission’s authority has been limited to accepting, rejecting or modifying the stipulation, and any modifications could be accepted or rejected by PNM or the other stipulating parties,” Jones said. “By holding a hearing on merits of the CCN application, the commission will finally be in a position to make a final, binding determination on the most contentious issue in this case and bring this case to a successful conclusion.”