PNM, Avangrid accept merger modifications - Albuquerque Journal

PNM, Avangrid accept merger modifications

PNM power lines cross a segment of Bureau of Land Management land. (Aaron Wilson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

PNM Resources and Connecticut-based energy giant Avangrid say they will accept all conditions recommended by a Public Regulation Commission hearing examiner if the five-member commission decides to approve their proposed merger.

Hearing examiner Ashley Schannauer – who oversaw eight months of evidence-gathering, plus two weeks of public hearings in August with parties in the case – released a “recommended decision” on Nov. 1 that called on commissioners to reject the deal because, in his view, the potential harms outweigh the benefits.

However, if the commissioners do approve the deal, Schannauer recommended they attach a series of conditions to protect the interests of ratepayers and the state.

PNM Resources and Avangrid filed a response to Schanauer late Friday afternoon that, in short, affirms their willingness to accept all of his recommendations if the commission chooses to approve the merger under his conditions. Their acceptance reflects the merger partners’ commitment to do what’s best for New Mexico, said PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn.

“We worked diligently to address the hearing examiner’s concerns and further mitigate potential risks,” Vincent-Collawn told the Journal in an email. “We hope we can receive approval and move forward with fulfilling the merger commitments to our customers and help New Mexico’s economy realize its potential as a renewable leader.”

The merger contains substantial benefits, said Avangrid Deputy CEO Robert Kump.

“We are hopeful the PRC will see the many benefits and safeguards in the proposed transaction,” Kump said in a statement.

If the commission approves the merger, Avangrid would acquire PNM Resources and its two utility subsidiaries – Public Service Company of New Mexico and Texas New Mexico Power – in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.3 billion.

The merger partners negotiated an extensive settlement agreement with parties in the case that contains more than $300 million in rate relief for PNM customers, assistance for low-income consumers, and economic development programs. It also includes significant safeguards to ensure continued grid reliability and local decision-making control of PNM after Avangrid takes over.

As a result, 23 of 24 parties now either directly support the merger or don’t oppose it.

The parties involved negotiated those agreements over five months, with final commitments reached while public hearings were underway in August. But Schannauer said the negotiations were done “piecemeal” with individual organizations, with no overall consensus evident among all parties.

All settlement signatories, however, filed a joint response to Schannauer on Friday that clearly states everybody’s agreement, said Steve Michel of Western Resource Advocates.

“We all continue to support the settlement agreement, and we accept the additional modifications proposed by the hearing examiner,” Michel told the Journal. “Hopefully, that will give the commissioners the comfort they need to approve the merger.”


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

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Educators in NM rally amid growing teacher shortage
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has proposed pay increases in an effort to attract educators to the state
2
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
3
An old face returns to City Hall
ABQnews Seeker
Keller appoints Griego as city's new ... Keller appoints Griego as city's new director of outreach and advocacy
4
I don't see traffic stops 2; driver's license redo
ABQnews Seeker
MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses MVD vendor reissues 1,800 driver's licenses
5
NM lawmakers launch another push for school of public ...
ABQnews Seeker
Proposal wasn't included in the initial ... Proposal wasn't included in the initial state spending package
6
Suit says deputy misconduct led to false detention
ABQnews Seeker
Man spent five months in jail ... Man spent five months in jail before his assault case was dismissed in Jan. '21
7
Always on duty
ABQnews Seeker
Museum traces the history of police ... Museum traces the history of police work in Albuquerque
8
BCSO: Man found shot to death in field on ...
ABQnews Seeker
A man was found shot to ... A man was found shot to death in a field on the west end of Gun Club SW on Sunday morning. At about 7:30 ...
9
Two shot in separate incidents Sunday, one fatally
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say one person is ... Albuquerque police say one person is in the hospital in critical condition after a shooting near Central and Coors early Sunday morning. Albuquerque Police ...