By Mona Blaber, Rio Grande Chapter communications coordinator
On Aug. 27, PNM filed a rate-hike request after its first request was rejected by the Public Regulation Commission.
PNM’s first rate request earlier this year included a steep monthly fee for those who install solar panels on their rooftops, as well as a 12 percent rate hike for all customers.
The PRC rejected that request after the commission’s hearing examiner said PNM hadn’t provided enough information to support its requests.
After considerable opposition from environmental groups, PNM has dropped the request for the monthly solar fee (which would have amounted to $21-$35 a month). It said it may attempt to float the fee in the future, but the first case’s failure left a shortened timeframe, so it chose not to fight that fight. Which means your opposition makes a difference!
However, there are other troubling aspects of the new rate request. PNM wants to increase the residential customer charge from $5 to $13.14 per month, increasing costs to customers no matter how energy-efficient they are or whether they generate a portion of their energy. The charge hits low-income customers especially hard.
Environmental advocates will review the company’s fuel clause to determine whether it should continue. The fuel clause removes the risk of fossil-fuel price increases to the company, removing an incentive to switch over to renewable energy resources.
The rate case has other important aspects, both good and bad. We’ll email members with an analysis and opportunity to make comments in the coming months.