June 15, 2021

PRC receives first grid modernization application

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has received its first grid modernization application since the state Legislature passed the Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap during the 2020 session.

Southwestern Public Service Company filed an application for grid modernization on June 4 and, during the Tuesday PRC meeting, the commission’s counsel Judith Amer informed members that it was the first application of its kind.

The Energy Grid Modernization Roadmap provides a way for regulated utilities to recover the cost of investing in grid modernization through an approved tariff rider or changes in the base rates. SPS’s proposal calls for recovery through an approved rider.

SPS plans to install an advanced metering infrastructure, which will allow for real-time tracking of customer’s electrical usage through the use of smart meters. It will also be installing technology known as FLISR, or fault location, isolation and service restoration, that will help limit the extent and duration of power outages through automated switching. It will also add a communication system known as FAN, or field area network, that will communicate between the existing substation infrastructure, the advanced meters’ software systems and intelligent field devices associated with FLISR.

SPS is also asking the PRC to allow it to recover the remaining investments that it has made in the meters that are currently installed in its service territory.

The commission assigned a hearing examiner to the case on Tuesday and Commissioner Joseph Maestas praised SPS for taking the initiative and being the first utility to file a grid modernization application.