May 16, 2023

NM Supreme Court denies request to remand PNM/Avangrid merger case

Andy Lyman

The New Mexico Supreme Court

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by utility giant Avangrid, the Public Service Company of New Mexico and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to remand the merger case back to the PRC.

The case stems from the PRC’s decision in 2021 to reject a proposed merger stipulation, which led to the utilities appealing the order to the state Supreme Court.

In January, new commissioners were appointed to the PRC, replacing the former elected officials. The PRC change came after voters approved a constitutional amendment. 

After the new commissioners took office, Avangrid approached the PRC about asking the court to remand the case for the new commission to consider.

These discussions led to accusations of ex parte communications and violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act, though the PRC maintains that it acted within the law. 

Related: PRC defends discussions, decision to request the NM Supreme Court send utility merger case back commission

In addition to denying that request, the state Supreme Court set a hearing for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12.

The Supreme Court decision does not bar PNM and Avangrid from submitting a new merger application, but it does prevent the PRC from hearing the merger application in the original docket while the court is considering the appeal.

Should PNM and Avangrid succeed in their appeal, the PRC may hear the case once again in the original docket.