*Editor’s note: This article was updated to add clarifying details from the Supreme Court.
SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The saga of uncertain future of a proposed merger between the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and the out-of-state company, Avangrid, is set to continue as the New Mexico Supreme Court decided not to let the state’s Public Regulation Commission handle the issue.
The proposed merger dates back to 2021. At the time the state’s Public Regulation Commission denied a merger that could shake up ownership of New Mexico’s largest energy supplier. The New Mexico Supreme Court then became involved in the dispute.
Now, the state’s Supreme Court has denied a request to let the newly restructured Public Regulation Commission consider the merger. And the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear arguments regarding the merger.
PNM provided a brief statement about the decision: “We received the Court’s order and we reviewing it.” KRQE News 13 reached out to Avangrid; they had no further comment on the matter.
Avangrid said earlier this month they hoped the Supreme Court would let the new Public Regulation Commission approve the merger so that “the benefits the merger will bring to all New Mexicans” could be realized.
Others involved, such as the non-profit New Energy Economy, have stood in opposition of the merger. The group describes itself in part as working “to radically transform our energy systems” and says the decision to keep the issue within the hands of the Supreme Court is potentially good news for New Mexicans.
“The Court’s ruling today is a vindication of our rights as New Mexicans to protection from arbitrary legal reversals at the behest and under the influence of powerful corporations,” New Energy Economy Executive Director Mariel Nanasi said in a press release. “The system of regulatory oversight intended to protect ordinary New Mexicans from utility overreach was threatened. The Court has restored integrity and confidence in the legal process that PNM and Avangrid/Iberdrola sought to disrupt and manipulate.”
The Supreme Court not only denied to send the issue back to the Public Regulations Commission, but also denied a handful of of other motions, including motions from New Energy Economy and from the State’s Attorney General.
The debate over the proposed merger has been heated. Recently, New Energy Economy alleged there was misconduct surrounding merger talks. Avangrid, in turn, alleged that New Energy Economy’s allegations are “part of a larger plan for a government takeover of New Mexico’s energy grid.”
The latest decision by the Supreme Court means the debate is far from over. Next, parties in the merger case will present arguments in front of the Supreme Court in September.