New PRC might revisit PUC orders. By Bruce W. Radford
"The PRC has not necessarily decided what position it will take," said PRC counsel Stacy Goodwin.
"I believe the majority of the PRC will take a slightly different position than the PUC, but there are some legal questions," confirmed Lynda Lovejoy, the newly elected chairman of the Public Regulation Commission.
These comments came in mid-January, as the New Mexico Supreme Court faced a petition for a writ of mandamus, filed by a coalition of state legislators, organized labor and utility shareholders, all backing Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) in efforts to overturn two orders issued by the state Public Utility Commission late last year, before it expired under a sunset law.
The court now expects to act by March 1, but we could see the cases thrown back to an uncertain fate at the hands of the newly created Public Regulation Commission.
ON JAN. 12, IN ITS FIRST OFFICIAL ACT, the new Public Regulation Commission reopened PUC Case No. 2847, the net metering rule for customer-owned renewable energy, distributed generation and alternative generation technologies, and effectively killed it. The PRC suspended the rule on an emergency basis, even though the time for rehearing had passed. It defended the move as "necessary for the preservation of the general welfare." Case No. 2847, Jan. 12, 1999 (N.M.P.R.C.), suspending order issued Nov. 30, 1998, Case No. 2847 (N.M.P.U.C.).
And now comes Santa Fe attorney Jerry Wertheim, with the firm Jones, Snead, Wertheim, Wentworth & Jacamilla, who sees perhaps a similar fate for two larger cases that he's involved with, representing PNM shareholder interests.