PNM Rate Case Details: How it Pertains to Solar
PNM Resources is the largest public energy utility in the state of New Mexico. They maintain an energy portfolio that ranges from the typical petroleum and natural gas plants that one might expect but also includes large wind farms, forays into solar, and a line of nuclear-generated electricity from Arizona. This energy keeps the lights on throughout most of New Mexico.
Rate Hikes Across New Mexico
Recently, PNM had a rate hike approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, which took effect on August 21, 2021. The change in rates will equalize the payments in both the northern and southern parts of New Mexico. Previously, southern New Mexico residents had different rates from northern New Mexico residents.
This rate increase also covers various other factors, such as increases in renewable energy and upgrades to the grid.
What Are the PNM Rate Increases in New Mexico?
In northern New Mexico, where rates were already a bit higher, the expected rate increase for most residents is around $1.26 a month. That would mean an annual rate increase of $15.12.
Southern New Mexico residents generally had lower rates because of Texas utility companies. Therefore, the rate increase is a bit higher in the southern part of the state to ensure equality of rates. The rate increase there is around $7 a month, for an annual increase of $70.00.
PNM’s Energy Portfolio and the Rate Case
What does the rate review cover? Quite a bit, actually. Part of this has to do with PNM’s energy portfolio — the various ways that PNM generates electricity. Most of PNM’s electricity production comes from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. However, the New Mexico state government has been increasingly strict about carbon emissions in the face of global climate change. More New Mexico energy utilities are producing clean, renewable energy because of this.
How Renewable Energy Factors Into the Rate Increase
PNM has recently begun work on large-scale solar production. Expansions in solar energy are the first step towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels. However, building new facilities can be expensive. It is partly for this reason that rates are increasing.
Additionally, the rate increases will include upgrades to PNM’s existing power grid. While there are many incentives for going solar with PNM, some homeowners haven’t been able to because the local grid cannot support new solar hookups. For solar to be able to expand in New Mexico, overhauling the current grid is a necessity.
While rate hikes are never well-regarded by those who are paying the rates, the updated rate hikes may be a necessity for growing solar in the state of New Mexico. However, if you want to escape from rising power bills, consider going solar yourself. Residential solar locks in your rate and brings energy independence to your home.