New Mexico Officials Argue Against Deregulation Of Utilities

August 27, 2013

Some New Mexico officials are urging the Arizona Corporation Commission not to deregulate electricity sales. They contend the decision in Arizona could decimate the New Mexico economy.The Arizona Corporation Commission is considering deregulating the state's electric market. That is increasingly calling into question the future of the Four Corners Power Plant, according to Arizona Public Service, which is a part-owner of the plant.

Spokesman Damon Gross tells the Daily Times of Farmington, NM. the utility cannot go ahead with pending deals to supply the plant with coal, or complete a $294 million purchase of the plant, as long as the deregulation debate is looming.

San Juan County commissioners worry a plant closure could cause a chain reaction that could literally cost the area and state economies billions of dollars.  The coal-fired plant and a neigh boring mine employ more than 800 workers and support a network of contractors and ancillary businesses.

Corporation Commission officials say they're aware of the concerns and will not drag their feet on the deregulation decision. Plans are to hold a public meeting on the issue by early October.

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