New Mexico's PUC goes down in flames.
This story has everything: politics, favoritism, a stock price crash, extortion (a long-ago crime by a certifiable nut), a utility rate case (I love'em), Ivy League economists (like moths to a flame), and finally, a last minute stay of execution, perhaps saving the utility from default on its revolving line of credit. Heck, even Enron's involved.
What's missing, however, is a clear understanding of who the good guys are.
The tale plays out in Santa Fe, capital city of the land of enchantment, where the state utility commission has long had a "thing" about Public Service Co. of New Mexico. In between bouts with Albuquerque or Las Cruces over electric franchise rights, PNM over the years has had to deal with regulator complaints of high rates - first on the electric side, stemming from failed diversification efforts, as I recall, and most recently on the gas side, when a strategy of buying short-term contracts in spot markets backfired when the weather went haywire.