Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

PNM Could Face Push for Rate Cut.(Editorial Page)(Column)

Byline: BILL HUME Editorial Page Editor

Wouldn't it be nice if postponing electricity deregulation in New Mexico not only insulated the state from the California electric utility meltdown but also triggered a Public Service Company of New Mexico rate cut? That is a possibility being discussed among some legislators, rate case interveners, Public Regulation Commission staff and Attorney General's Office utility experts.

The rationale for postponing deregulation in New Mexico is the electric utility debacle still spiraling downward in California. The fear is that deregulation here in the face of California's problems could allow the import of California rate inflation into the New Mexico market.

PNM promises to cap rates if deregulation goes forward as scheduled, but the new possibility is that rates might actually be cut if deregulation is postponed. PNM may face a condition of "stranded revenue" due to be shared with ratepayers instead of "stranded costs" due stockholders as conditions change prior to the initiation of deregulation. …

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