March 26, 2003
PNM Seeks To Offer Wind Power to Customers
Albuquerque: PNM has asked state regulators for permission to offer clean, renewable wind energy to its 385,000 New Mexico electric customers.
The company's proposal, outlined in a green tariff filed with the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) yesterday, would allow customers to subscribe to renewable energy produced at New Mexico Wind Energy Center in return for a small, monthly premium.
"This product will give PNM customers who are concerned about the environment, air emissions and water conservation a way to voice their support for renewable energy," said Sarita Loehr, PNM vice president of customer and market services.
New Mexico Wind Energy Center, now under construction near House, N.M., will not produce air emissions or use water to generate electricity. Once complete, it will be the nation's third-largest wind generation facility.
Under the plan, residential customers and small businesses could sign up for renewable energy by choosing one of two packages, each based on a renewable energy premium of 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour:
The average PNM residential customer uses about 550 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month.
Large business customers also could participate in the program, paying the same 2.5 cent-per-kilowatt-hour rate for renewable energy. But they would purchase the energy as a proportion of their overall electric usage rather than in blocks. A large business could select to purchase renewable energy equal to one percent, two percent, three percent, five percent, 10 percent, 50 percent or 90 percent of its overall electric monthly usage.
The renewable premium would show up as a separate line item on the monthly bills of those customers who choose to participate. The premium charge for renewable energy is in addition to base charges for electricity.
The monthly premium is designed to help cover the added cost of bringing renewable energy into PNM's electric system.
"While the energy we receive from New Mexico Wind Energy Center is competitively priced, the reality is that wind energy is still more expensive than energy from our other power resources," Loehr said. PNM's proposed renewable energy premium is similar in price to those offered by some of the most progressive utilities in the country, she said.
The PRC will need to review and approve PNM's renewable energy tariff before customers can sign up to participate. PNM hopes to begin taking customer signups later this year or early in 2004.
PNM is the principal subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in Albuquerque. PNM provides natural gas service to 441,000 gas customers and electric utility service to 385,000 customers in New Mexico. The company also sells power on the wholesale market in the Western U.S. PNM Resources stock is traded primarily on the NYSE under the symbol PNM. For more information about our company, visit PNM.com.