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New Mexico’s largest utility to return $115 million to customers who paid after coal plant closed

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico utility regulators have again approved a settlement calling for monthly credits averaging about $9.28 per customer from the state’s largest electricity utility over the course of a year.

The agreement announced Thursday by the state Public Regulation Commission aims to return to customers $115 million collected by Public Service Co. of New Mexico for operations at the San Juan Generating Station — even after the last of four units of the massive coal-fired plant closed last September.

The pact still needs to be reviewed by the state Supreme Court, which last week sent back to the commission an agreement reached in August between the utility, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez and several environmental and consumer advocacy organizations.

But ratepayers are expected to see credits on their accounts beginning next month.

In a statement, Torrez called the settlement a great achievement for all parties, including utility customers.

PNM serves more than 525,000 residential and business customers. Company CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn told the Albuquerque Journal the utility plans to finish retiring the coal-fired plant and was pleased to reach agreement with the parties involved.

“We remain focused on reliably meeting New Mexicans’ energy needs and achieving our clean energy goals,” she said.

The San Juan plant and its towering concrete stacks in northwestern New Mexico was built in four units during the 1970s and 1980s. At its peak, it was capable of producing almost 1,850 megawatts of electricity for delivery — serving millions of homes and businesses in New Mexico and parts of Arizona and California.

Article Topic Follows: AP New Mexico

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