According to new reports, the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) is requesting the state Public Regulation Commission to allow it to raise rates — the first time in six years. The proposal includes a first-year billing increase of 1.74 percent, which is around $1.20 more per month for residential customers, according to reports.
The rate hike will help the company pay to “begin a six-year grid modernization project with $344 million in upgrades to its distribution system,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
“But in a news conference Monday, Darnell said the total average impact for residential customers will be lower than 1 percent, or about 75 cents a month. However, when commercial and industrial rates are added in, the overall increase would be about 9 percent.”
The cost hikes are due to the passage and forced implementation of the anti-energy “Energy Transition Act,” the state’s version of the Green New Deal signed by Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2019.
The New Mexican notes, “PNM’s proposed grid updates would apply to the company’s entire service area and are a response to the state’s zero-carbon initiatives stemming from the 2019 Energy Transition Act.”
As we previously reported, utilities such as PNM and El Paso Electric are bracing for blackouts and brownouts due to the Green New Deal:
During a special Public Regulation Commission meeting [in September], Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) said it is being forced to PNM executives said the utility will fill “quite a hole” next summer due to “green” replacements taking longer to materialize as the San Juan Generating Station is set to close next week.
According to PNM spokesman Ray Sandoval, PNM “generally has a 2,000-megawatt system with about 500 megawatts provided by the San Juan Generating Station.”
With the closure of the San Juan Generating Station, it has purged countless jobs, with only around 80 employees able to retire. “For the rest of the employees, though, they’re going to have to go find some other form of employment,” said plant manager Omni Warner.
The AP reports, “El Paso Electric, a utility that serves customers in southern New Mexico, also is expecting a capacity gap next summer. Like PNM, El Paso Electric will have to buy power from other producers to ensure adequate capacity when customers crank up their air conditioners during the hottest of days.”
PNM’s senior vice president for public policy, Ron Darnell, said the utility expects “a final decision within 10 to 13 months” on the rate hike to keep the company afloat.