Last Tuesday, members of the Santa Fe City Council committee took up changes to the ordinance that grants PNM a franchise, or permission, to use city right of way for its power and light infrastructure.
The main reason that the ordinance is on the council agenda these days is to raise the fee that PNM pays for the franchise. The new franchise fee would be 3% of the gross receipts the utility receives from the sale of electricity within the city limits. The fee is now at 2%.
The fee increase is supposed to raise $700,000 and would add 50 cents to a $50 monthly electric bill, since PNM will pass along the cost. The increase, although still not approved by the City Council, is already built into the budget for the next fiscal year that begins July 1. City officials say the franchise agreement with PNM hasn’t been changed since it was first passed in 1974, although, of course, the rate consumers pay for electricity has gone up over the years.