Power lines next to the Call Before You Dig building in Albuquerque, where Thursday’s public comment hearing will be held. (Photo by Megan Gleason / Source NM)
The Public Service Company of New Mexico wants to enact a price hike in 2024, and New Mexicans have another chance this week to voice their opinions on it.
This would be the first time in five years that New Mexicans could get more expensive billing rates under PNM. The utility argues that its requested 9.7% rate base increase will pay for costs sustained while updating technology and moving away from fossil fuels.
The price hike would affect residential customers and businesses. PNM officials say New Mexicans would have less than a 1% price increase in reality with renewable energy savings taken into account.
This is what the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission — the state entity that’ll approve the proposed price raise or not — is inviting people to talk about Thursday afternoon in Albuquerque and online.
The public comment hearing will be Thursday, Aug. 31 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Albuquerque at the NM811 business office at 1021 Eubank Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112. It will also be held on Zoom.
Those attending virtually must sign up to speak beforehand by emailing [email protected] or calling (505) 490-7910, preferably by Wednesday evening.
People will have a minute-and-a-half to speak. The commission can decide to extend or shorten that, as well as go beyond 5:30 p.m. to hear from the public.
This comes almost a month after the first public comment hearing happened on Aug. 1. Just two people spoke at that meeting, and only one comment was related to price hikes.
A week after that, the New Mexico Attorney General requested that the PRC hold another public comment period because the commission gave people “limited notice of the time and place” of the first hearing.
Gideon Elliot, utilities bureau chief at the attorney general’s office, asked the PRC to hold the additional comment period as close to Sept. 5 as possible. That’s when the formal public hearing starts for PNM’s rate revision case.
PNM didn’t object to the attorney general’s request for more public comment. So on Aug. 15, the commission approved the second hearing.
Commissioner James Ellison noted at the last public comment that it doesn’t count as formal evidence for the September public hearing, but topics brought up could lead to investigation of issues that become part of the record.
He said the commission will likely reach a decision on the case in late 2023 or early 2024.
This story was updated on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 9 a.m. to accurately reflect who the price change would affect.
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