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Court rejects restraint on utility regulator

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The state Supreme Court has rejected a move to require Public Regulation Commission Chairman Sandy Jones to recuse himself from matters relating to Public Service Company of New Mexico’s 2017 Integrated Resource Plan.

The PRC has jurisdiction over PNM’s proposed energy resource portfolio, which the utility says will eliminate its use of coal-fired generation by the end of 2031 in favor of a mixed portfolio of renewable energy and natural gas.

Santa Fe-based New Energy Economy had alleged Jones could not be impartial to the proceeding due to perceived “open hostility” toward NEE Executive Director Mariel Nanasi and because PNM’s parent company donated money to a political action committee that campaigned for his re-election. The organization has long claimed relations between the utility and commissioners were too chummy.

“For months, Ms. Nanasi has viciously smeared my character and credibility and I am pleased the state’s highest court has denied her futile attempt to keep me from overseeing this case,” Jones said in a prepared statement released by the PRC.