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PNM tells regulators it shouldn’t have to refile rate case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public Service Co. of New Mexico is asking the Public Regulation Commission to reject a hearing examiner’s recommendation that the utility be required to refile its request for a 12 percent rate increase.

The company filed “exceptions,” or objections, on Thursday to hearing examiner Carolyn Glick’s recommended decision that the PRC reject PNM’s rate request as “incomplete.” The examiner said on April 17 that the utility did not include enough information about how PNM calculated estimated costs that it wants to recover through higher rates starting in 2016. Glick also said that the utility did not make all documentation accessible electronically, which she said is a prerequisite in the case for PRC staff and intervening parties to fully vet the validity of PNM’s cost estimates.

In response, the company said its filing is complete and meets the standards required of it in rate cases.

“We believe that the company has provided information and detail beyond what is actually required for these types of cases and our filing today provides comprehensive support for our position,” said PNM Vice President for Public Policy Ron Darnell in a statement.

The company said a recent filing by another utility at the PRC was accepted even though that company provided information similar to what PNM has submitted. As a result, the company said the hearing examiner is wrongly imposing a “heightened standard” on PNM. In addition, rather than force PNM to refile its rate case, the utility requests that it be allowed to file supplemental testimony and exhibits to correct any deficiencies the commission may find, modifying the procedural schedule if needed to accommodate additional submissions.

“Requiring the company to re-file the case would cause an unnecessary and potentially costly delay,” Darnell said. “We believe the hearing examiner’s recommendations are not consistent with the commission’s rules and precedents.”

The issue will likely go before the commission sometime in May.

Responses to PNM’s exceptions and those submitted by other parties are due by May 5, Glick told the Journal.

“After that, at an open meeting, I will brief commissioners on my recommended decision,” Glick said. “The PRC attorney and the office of the general counsel will also present all exceptions to them. Then the commission will vote on whether to accept the recommended decision.”

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