PRC unanimously rejects rehearing on PNM transmission line - Albuquerque Journal

PRC unanimously rejects rehearing on PNM transmission line

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in this file photo unanimously approved as service contract between PNM and Facebook for construction of a data center in Valencia County, photographed on Wednesday August 17, 2016. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously rejected on Thursday motions to reconsider a decision to charge Facebook nearly half the cost of a new $85 million transmission line.

Public Service Company of New Mexico and two other intervenors in the case had asked the five-member commission to reconsider its mid-April decision, which said PNM could not charge general ratepayers anything for building the transmission line. That’s because a PNM executive testified during hearings in February that the line would only serve Facebook by carrying electricity from a new wind farm near Encino to Facebook’s data center in Los Lunas, plus wholesale customers who sell to markets outside the state.

But PNM has since corrected that testimony, calling the transmission line a “network upgrade” that benefits everybody, including wholesale and retail customers alike. It requested a rehearing on April 30 for the commission to reconsider its position to allow costs to be shared equally among everybody.

Both the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy and New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers filed similar motions in support of PNM.

But at the PRC’s open public meeting Thursday, commissioners rejected those motions on a technicality. They said PNM and the other parties did not explicitly ask to reopen the case record for new evidence to be entered through a formal rehearing, forcing commissioners to rely on existing evidence in the record.

“If they want to raise new issues, we would have to reopen the record and bring in new evidence for all parties to comment on,” said Commissioner Stephen Fischmann during Thursday’s meeting. “These motions don’t ask for that.”

Staff attorney Judith Amer told the commission that PNM was only asking the PRC to issue a new, revised order in the case. That means commissioners still had to rely on the PNM executive’s testimony in February that the line won’t serve retail customers, said Commissioner Cynthia Hall.

“PNM unfortunately didn’t provide us with anything in the record to refute that, so we couldn’t reach a different conclusion than we already reached in April,” Hall told the Journal. “In discharging our judicial function, we have to follow the rules.”

Nevertheless, PNM’s official request on April 30 clearly stated it was a “motion for expedited rehearing,” with similar language contained as well in the motions from the other two parties.

“We are deeply disappointed in the commission’s decision today,” said PNM spokesman Ray Sandoval in an email to the Journal. “We understand that we created initial confusion (in the February testimony), but after clarifying the information, we believe the law and precedent should have led the commission to modify their decision. We are in the process of reviewing our options on how to proceed.”

PNM could now decide to appeal to the Supreme Court.

 

Home » Business » Energy » PRC unanimously rejects rehearing on PNM transmission line


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Emptying the Notebook: House showing growth
ABQnews Seeker
More notes, quotes, stats and analysis ... More notes, quotes, stats and analysis from Saturday's Lobo game, including how Jaelen House's game continues to grow this season.
2
WIPP begins filling new disposal area
ABQnews Seeker
New area consists of seven separate ... New area consists of seven separate rooms for placing special boxes and barrels
3
City, UNM hope to reduce live animal testing
ABQnews Seeker
City Council OKs plan to reuse ... City Council OKs plan to reuse normally-discarded animal tissue for research
4
ABQ native son, Navy vice admiral was at Pentagon ...
ABQnews Seeker
John Mateczun maintained strong ties to ... John Mateczun maintained strong ties to New Mexico
5
Acequias face challenges, uncertain future
ABQnews Seeker
Fire, flood damage to NM irrigation ... Fire, flood damage to NM irrigation ditches threaten a way of life
6
Pretty or not, Lobos improve to 5-0
ABQnews Seeker
UNM's defense was on point Saturday ... UNM's defense was on point Saturday night and a strong second half led the Lobos to their first 5-0 start since the 2012-13 season. ...
7
New venture plans to launch technological revolution in ...
ABQnews Seeker
AFF, America's Frontier Fund, aims to ... AFF, America's Frontier Fund, aims to rebuild US technological lead
8
Judge, pets killed by husband in murder-suicide
ABQnews Seeker
Diane Albert, resident of Los Ranchos, ... Diane Albert, resident of Los Ranchos, mourned by officials and friends
9
Buffalo 'walk in two worlds' – the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Some 82 tribes across the U.S. ... Some 82 tribes across the U.S. now have more than 20,000 bison in 65 herds