Victory! PRC rejects PNM rate hike, solar penalty

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in May rejected PNM’s rate-hike proposal, which would have required New Mexico families to cover tens of millions of dollars in costs for the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station and added a hefty monthly fee for anyone who installed rooftop solar.

The decision follows a recommendation from a PRC hearing examiner that criticized PNM for failing to provide sufficient information to support its proposed rate increase.

The Sierra Club intervened in the case to oppose PNM’s proposal, which would have raised overall rates by 12 percent while reducing rates for the largest customers.

In addition, PNM wanted to impose a monthly fee for residents who install rooftop solar — $20-$30 per month for the typical residential solar system, part of a trend of utilities fighting growth of residential solar by penalizng those ratepayers. Environment America released a study in June that showed that distributed solar energy is worth much more to utilities than solar owners are being paid for, but PNM claimed the opposite, with little to no evidence.

In response, Nellis Kennedy-Howard, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, said, “We applaud our officials on the Public Regulation Commission for protecting New Mexico families and ratepayers by rejecting PNM’s risky, expensive, and unsupported rate-hike scheme.”

It’s not over yet. PNM will refile its rate proposal later this year, perhaps with many of the same components.

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Featured photo by Bart Speelman

Licensed under Creative Commons

Victory! PRC rejects PNM rate hike, solar penalty