ALBUQUERQUE – The Renewable Energy Industries Association – New Mexico (REIA) has filed with the Public Regulation Commission to intervene in the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) rate case, in which the utility seeks to raise electricity rates approximately 12 percent.
REIA’s interest in the case is PNM’s request for approval to add a monthly interconnection fee (access fee) to the bills of owners of rooftop solar systems and to eliminate those customers’ ability to carry forward excess generation on their bills, or “bank” that energy for use in winter months. Excess electricity from these distributed generation systems (DG) is sold to PNM, which resells it to rate payers through the grid.
The contribution of rooftop-generated energy to the grid is a net benefit to PNM and other customers:
- PNM avoids passing costs associated with energy generation costs and future capital investments to the rate payers;
- Decreases line losses over long transmission line by providing a more efficient, local distribution system;
- Reduces future investments in the transmission and distribution system;
- Meets mandated environmental compliance costs; and
- Avoids costs associated the volatile fossil fuel market.
REIA believes the access fee, a $6/kW/mo charge, and the elimination of the “banking” practice are intended to reduce the financial attractiveness of new solar systems and will greatly slow down the adoption of rooftop solar in New Mexico by increasing the time it takes homeowners to pay off their solar investment. These measures will result in “green collar” job loss while doing nothing to bring down costs for ratepayers.
In a related case, REIA pulled out of the Stipulation with PNM and other parties in the San Juan Generating Station abandonment case, because PNM’s proposed access fee in the rate case showed bad faith by PNM. The access fee would undermine PNM’s agreement to continue a program that incentivized rooftop solar owners through 2018.
PNM’s proposal will kill jobs in the one sector of the New Mexico economy that has added jobs during the recent economic downturn. “Nationally, solar jobs market its booming…with more than 20 percent year-over-year job growth for the past two years.”
New Mexico REIA (Renewable Energy Industry Association) advocates on behalf of the renewable energy industry in order to promote and protect thousands of renewable energy jobs and grow the new energy economy in New Mexico. Grid Alternatives