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PNM asks utility regulators to reconsider denial of power plant costs recovery

Public Service Co. of New Mexico is asking the state Public Regulation Commission to reconsider its recent decision to reject parts of a previously revised multiparty settlement stipulation that would have included the PNM Resources Inc. utility's requests concerning two power plants.

Besides PNM, several parties have also filed requests seeking reconsideration and approval of the settlement agreement. If the PRC turns down the request, the rate review is expected to move forward to litigation, the utility said in a Dec. 28 news release.

"The settlement agreement continues to have overwhelming support from the parties to our rate review and it should be upheld by the Commission," PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO said in the release. "Each of the settlement parties recognizes the significance and complexities of transitioning to coal-free generation and made concessions in this agreement to continue down this path. If we proceed to litigation, it will be to protect our ability to achieve this transition in a responsible way for all stakeholders."

The New Mexico utility regulators on Dec. 20 approved a revenue increase of $62.3 million for PNM, but refused a return on recovery of the Four Corners coal-fired plant investment and disallowed $36 million for improvements to the San Juan Generating Station. The decision established a nonfuel, base revenue increase for PNM, to be phased-in over two years.

The commision has 20 days to consider the request, with the authority to extend the suspension period in the rate review until March 6, 2018. The concerned parties have until Jan. 2, 2018, to respond to the motion before the PRC's next scheduled open meeting on Jan. 3, 2018.

This case was initiated Dec. 7, 2016, when PNM filed with the PRC for a $99.2 million, two-step, base rate increase.