Negative outlook assigned to New Mexico electric utility

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A major credit rating agency has given New Mexico’s largest electric utility and its parent company a negative outlook as state regulators look to resolve questions over a proposed rate increase.

PNM Resources says the outlook by Standard & Poor’s moves the family of companies in the direction of a credit rating downgrade.

The agency cited a challenging regulatory environment and pointed to the financial effects of a decision last week by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to order a lower rate increase for utility customers.

The commission also put off a decision on whether the utility’s investments in a coal-fired power plant were prudent.

The commission on Wednesday is scheduled to take up the rate increase again as several parties that were initially involved in the negotiations need to sign off.

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