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Santa Fe New Mexican:

The state Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday ordered New Mexico’s largest electric utility to begin issuing credits to customers immediately after it shuts down two units of the coal-powered San Juan Generating Station, a decision commissioners said will save ratepayers a combined $94 million a year.

The ruling, a day before Public Service Company of New Mexico was scheduled to take one unit offline at the power plant near Farmington, comes after a contentious monthslong case in which Western Resource Advocates and other environmental organizations had challenged PNM’s plan to finance its departure from the plant.

While PNM argued it was taking steps to save customers money in the long run by delaying short-term rate reductions, commissioners found the company in violation of a state energy law and its financing order for the San Juan shutdown — and accused PNM of bad behavior meant only to benefit itself and its shareholders.

“They’re just trying to cheat customers out of money,” Commissioner Stephen Fischmann said before making a motion for what would be a unanimous vote to uphold a recommendation earlier this month by two of the agency’s hearing officers.

[Cynthia Miller]

More: PRC rejects San Juan coal plant finance plan

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