Official: Commission should reject New Mexico utility merger


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A state hearing examiner is recommending that a New Mexico regulatory commission reject a proposed merger involving the state’s largest utility, Public Service Co. of New New Mexico.

Potential downsides of the merger outweigh the benefits, Ashley Schannauer, a hearing examiner for the Public Regulation Commission, said in a report and non-boding recommendation released Monday.

Under the merger, Connecticut-based Avangrid and its parent firm, Iberdrola of Spain, would acquire PNM Resources. and its PNM and Texas New Mexico Power subsidiaries.

If approved, Avangrid would acquire PNMR in an all-cash transaction valued at $4.3 billion and affecting about 800,000 homes and businesses, including some 530,000 customers of PNM.

Schannauer’s recommendation cited missteps and problems the merger proposal encountered including incomplete responses and overly extensive confidentiality requests.

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If the merger is rejected by the commission, the company could submit a revised proposal. Also, the commission’s decision can be appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Schannauer wrote that if the commission is inclined to approve the merger, changes should be made to a June 4 settlement agreement the companies reached with numerous organizations interested in the proceedings.

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