ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Discrepancies over the value of electricity purchased from a nuclear-fired power plant in Arizona has interrupted proceedings related to a request by New Mexico's largest electric utility to raise rates for more than a half-million customers.
A hearing officer has extended the schedule in the Public Service Co. of New Mexico case so more evidence related to the Palo Verde plant can be submitted.
The move was spurred by what the officer described as "significant unanswered discrepancies" that arose after the utility recalculated the net book value of power purchased from one of the units at the Arizona plant.
PNM valued the power at just over $83 million, nearly $20 million less than what utility officials had testified to during a hearing last month, according to an order issued by the hearing officer on Wednesday.
Environmentalists, who have been raising questions about the costs, said the overvaluation could have amounted to a $100 million burden for ratepayers over the life of the plant.
Mariel Nanasi, a frequent critic of the utility and executive director of Santa Fe-based New Energy Economy, accused PNM of misleading the state Public Regulation Commission about the actual cost of the Palo Verde power.