Home New mexico state energy companies seek to advocate for proposed merger | New Mexico News

energy companies seek to advocate for proposed merger | New Mexico News

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By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – Global energy giant Iberdrola, New Mexico’s largest electric utility and other groups on Monday called on state regulators to make oral arguments ahead of the vote on a multibillion-dollar merger project that would affect more than 500,000 customers and potentially the pace of renewable energy development in the state.

The Public Regulatory Commission has the final say on whether Iberdrola’s subsidiary, Avangrid, can acquire PNM Resources and its two utilities – Public Service Co. of New Mexico and Texas New Mexico Power. The cash transaction was valued at over $ 4.3 billion and would open the door for Iberdrola and Avangrid in a state where more wind and solar power could be generated and exported to larger markets.

A reviewer from the commission hearing recommended that the deal be rejected, and three of the five commissioners-elected said last week they opposed the approval.

While critics argue the merger would not be in the public interest given Avangrid’s track record in other states, utility officials, in a publicity blitz, have touted more than $ 300 million. dollars in tariff relief for PNM customers, investments in economic development, the creation of 150 jobs and other concessions obtained through negotiations with the parties involved.

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All parties except one directly support the merger or do not oppose it on the basis of concessions accepted by Avangrid.

At a meeting last week, the commissioners still questioned whether PNM’s customer service and reliability would deteriorate if the deal was approved and whether state regulators could ensure Avangrid’s compliance with all negotiated agreements.

Pat Vincent-Collawn, president and CEO of PNM Resources, said being able to make oral arguments before the panel would allow parties to address remaining issues in a transparent manner. She called the decision before the committee critical.

“We are confident that throughout the process, various parties in this case have raised the same issues and negotiated commitments to provide the appropriate guarantees and enhanced benefits to ensure that our merger is the right decision for customers, communities and the economic development of New Mexico, ”she said. said in a statement to The Associated Press.

As part of the guarantees negotiated, PNM and Avangrid could face penalties for failing to meet reliability standards.

The case has been in the works for a year, with Public Regulatory Commission hearing officer Ashley Schannauer spending several months overseeing evidence gathering and two weeks of public hearings over the summer.

Schannauer presented his recommendation last week to the committee to veto the proposal. He also cited some conditions that the commissioners should implement if they decide to support the merger. A final decision is expected this month.

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