This story is a staff report from The Paper.

After discussions with various parties pertaining to the proposed merger, both PNM and AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) have agreed to all conditions outlined by the NM Public Regulations Commission hearing officer’s recommended decision from November 1. The hearing officer had comments on three particular items for the Commission to consider. 

With 23 of the original 24 intervenors now either fully supporting or not opposing the merger, filing this response is one of the final procedural steps for the merger to go before the five-member Public Regulation Commission (PRC).

“We are addressing the concerns outlined in the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation and appreciate the opportunity to respond. The recommendation outlined a pathway to approval with additional regulatory commitments to ensure our merger is structured in the best interests of our customers, the communities we serve, and the environment. We all want what’s best for the place where we live and love,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM CEO. 

“Because all sides want what is best for New Mexico, we have committed to the Hearing Examiner’s recommendations to provide further benefits and safeguards for New Mexicans,” said Robert Kump, AVANGRID’s Deputy CEO and President. “We hope our agreement to these additional conditions further illustrates our shared commitment to New Mexico.”

PNM and AVANGRID have made commitments as part of the agreement:

  • PNM/AVANGRID will be held accountable to the strongest reliability and customer service metrics in the State.
  • PNM will maintain high-quality customer service with the same great New Mexicans who have always supported its customers– the same great New Mexicans who will still live and work in our communities post-merger. 
  • AVANGRID has a track record of showing its commitment to customer service and reliability as well as fixing problems when they arise. AVANGRID does substantially better in power reliability, storm response and customer service than its peers.  
  • Transition to carbon-free resources – Iberdrola, the parent company of AVANGRID, is a global renewable leader and AVANGRID is a national renewable leader. The merger will make PNM’s transition to clean energy more efficient.

AVANGRID’s and PNM’s additional commitments: 

  • Delaying PNM’s next rate case filing until December 1, 2022, a 6-month extension to the original agreement;  
  • Including an additional $10 million in economic development benefits beyond the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation, consistent with commitments previously made to other parties;
  • Additional commitments to corporate governance and other financial protections for customers; 
  • Reliability metrics, with enforceable penalties, and a commitment to support consistent rule making on reliability metrics across all of New Mexico.

“There is substantial agreement from almost all of the parties to this proceeding. We are hopeful the PRC will see the many benefits and safeguards in the proposed transaction,” said Kump.

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This story is a staff report from The Paper.