Editor’s note: The Journal continues its investigative series on the issues and players involved in the proposed merger of Public Service Company of New Mexico and Avangrid, a proposal that soon may resurface.
The current three-member Public Regulation Commission, which was appointed by the governor and took office in January, joined Public Service Co. of New Mexico and Avangrid in a March 8 request to the New Mexico Supreme Court to allow the new PRC to “rehear and reconsider” Avangrid and PNM’s proposed merger.
The previous five-member elected commission rejected the merger in December 2021, leading to a Supreme Court appeal last year by PNM and Avangrid.
In their March 8 joint motion, the three parties asked the court to dismiss that appeal and remand the issue back to a newly appointed commission under a PRC rule that allows commissioners to rehear evidence already presented in a case and then reconsider the final decision that was reached.
The court will now consider responses to that motion from other intervening parties before making a decision on the remand.
At least five intervening parties have now filed responses. Of those, only New Energy Economy actually opposes the proposed dismissal and remand.
But all the respondents agree that, if the case is remanded back to the PRC, it can’t be just for a “rehearing” of existing evidence, but rather, for the case to be “reopened” to present new evidence for consideration.
For one thing, the PRC ruling on “rehearing” is inapplicable, they say, because it calls for that to happen within 10 days after the PRC has ruled on a case.
More importantly, the parties want the ability to present new information, fully review evidence submitted by others, and provide input through public hearings on any PRC reconsideration of the last commission’s decision in the case.
In fact, three parties want the Supreme Court to specifically require PNM and Avangrid to file a revised merger application that would summarize and update all negotiated commitments that Avangrid agreed to in 2021.
‘Public power’ | Merger opponents driven by anti-monopoly agenda
The Maine Effect | A closer look at how Avangrid’s problems in Maine played a role in the PRC’s deliberations