State regulators set new schedule for hearing phase of PNM case

James Fenton The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — At a New Mexico Public Regulations Commission meeting on Wednesday, commissioners set a new schedule for the upcoming hearing over the restructuring case that likely will decide whether or not the San Juan Generating Station continues to operate.

While some dates were moved up, others were pushed back.

With a deadline of Jan. 1 to have important documents like the coal supply agreement and others in place, the commission adopted, by a 4 to 1 vote, an order to set a revised timetable for the remaining procedural steps in the case.

Commissioner Sandy Jones, D-Williamsburg , urged the PRC's general counsel not to let the case drag on too close to the end of the calendar year.

"My concern is we're getting into December when everyone's running off some place (during the holidays)," Jones said during Wednesday's meeting, which was streamed live on the PRC's website.

District 4 Commissioner Lynda Lovejoy, D-Crownpoint, who is also the PRC vice chairwoman, said she would be busy that time of year with business obligations.

"I spend December selling my rugs that I've been weaving," she said to a silent room. "You're supposed to all laugh."

Joking aside, Lovejoy said the case was especially critical to her district and urged the PRC's counsel and other commissioners not to waste any time.

"Especially people in the Northwest region," she said. "They've been waiting and waiting. We need to make tough decisions."

Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, D-Santa Fe, voted against changing the case's hearing schedule.

Testimony in support of the supplemental stipulation filed Aug. 13 is now scheduled for Aug. 28.

Testimony in support of the supplemental stipulation from PRC staff and parties to the settlement agreement was moved up to Aug. 28 from Sept. 3.

Testimony in opposition to the supplemental stipulation will now be due Sept. 25, which was pushed back from Sept. 18.

The pre-hearing conference is scheduled for Oct. 7, moved back from Sept. 22.

The actual hearing on the supplemental stipulation begins on Oct. 13. Rebuttal testimony is due two days later on Oct. 15.

"San Juan is the biggest case that they've got," PRC spokesman Carlos Padilla said late Monday. "(The commissioners) don't want something to be dragged out past the end of the year."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 and Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.