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PNM to talk about proposed rate hike

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By The Staff

PNM plans to talk about its proposed rate increase with local customers.

The discussion will take place 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday at Sala de Madrid Room, 801 University Ave., on the Highlands University campus.

“Nobody likes a rate increase, and we hate asking for one. It is important for our customers to understand what is at stake for them,” said Ron Darnell, PNM vice president of regulatory affairs.

A PNM presentation will cover what the rate increase pays for, why the company is asking for an increase now and how an increase could affect customer bills.

Rates for PNM customers are set by the state Public Regulation Commission through a public process that began last June when the utility filed a request for an approximately 21 percent increase for customers in central and northern New Mexico, and in Deming.  The company also filed a request to raise rates for its customers living in Silver City and other southern New Mexico communities.

Making sure that customers have reliable power today and in the future at the least cost is the key focus for PNM and for regulators, Darnell said.  PNM has or will make significant ongoing investments in power plants, substations and power lines to assure reliability and must be able to pay for them, he said.  

While PNM bills would remain more than 25 percent below the national average even with the increase, Darnell acknowledges that tough economic conditions make any increase a matter of concern.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current and future requirements of the electric system with our customers and to listen to their concerns,” Darnell said.