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PRC officials: PNM must unseal documents

July 7, 2017 GMT

Public Service Company of New Mexico was told it must publicly release documents under seal in a rate increase request, two hearing officers for the state Public Regulation Commission said this week.

The nonprofit renewable energy advocacy group New Energy Economy, a long-standing critic of the electric utility, had filed a motion earlier this year asking that a confidentiality designation be lifted from documents that relate to the Four Corners Power Plant, San Juan Generating Station and negotiations over future coal supplies for the plants.

PNM had said it would be misleading to the public and could violate federal securities laws to disclose the documents as part of the rate case.

PRC hearing examiners Anthony Medeiros and Ashley Schannauer said in their ruling Wednesday that the utility failed to show that the information’s secrecy is protected under any state or federal law, and it didn’t prove that any trade secrets would be revealed if the documents were made public.

Although PNM is a private corporation, the hearing officers wrote, “PNM is just as much a public utility subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction, regulation and oversight and, as such, is equally accountable to its customers — ratepayers have a right to see documents that are materially relevant in this matter.”

PNM filed a motion Thursday asking the hearing officers to reconsider the decision.