ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public Service Company of New Mexico could face a steep uphill battle in its bid to win Public Regulation Commission approval for a 14.4 percent rate hike.
The utility is seeking $123.5 million more in annual revenue to recover capital investments since 2010 – the last time it requested a rate hike – and to offset a marked decline in electric sales as energy-conscious consumers continue to cut consumption.
But a large number of environmental and clean-energy organizations, consumer advocates, and industrial and institutional power users are lining up against PNM’s proposals, which are scheduled for review in two weeks of public hearings at the PRC, starting March 14.
Most opponents say the company is seeking much more money than is justified. And many criticize utility proposals to redesign rates in ways that will shift more of the cost for running the grid onto residential and small power consumers – something PNM says is necessary to ease the burden on institutional and industrial customers who may be subsidizing smaller users.
In particular, a proposal to raise the fixed monthly charge on residential customers will likely face sharp opposition from consumer advocates at the hearings.