NATIONAL NEWS

Proposed merger of New Mexico, Connecticut energy companies ends; deal valued at more than $4.3B

Jan 2, 2024, 11:48 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with New Mexico’s largest electric utility said Tuesday that a proposed multibillion-dollar merger with a U.S. subsidiary of global energy giant Iberdrola has ended.

Under the proposal, Connecticut-based Avangrid would have acquired PNM Resources and its two utilities — Public Service Co. of New Mexico and Texas New Mexico Power.

The all-cash transaction was valued at more than $4.3 billion and would have opened the door for Iberdrola and Avangrid in a state where more wind and solar power could be generated and exported to larger markets.

“We are greatly disappointed with Avangrid’s decision to terminate the merger agreement and its proposed benefits to our customers and communities,” PNM president and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn said in a statement.

PNM officials previously said the proposed multimillion-dollar merger with Avangrid would have helped create jobs, serve utility customers and boost energy efficiency projects in New Mexico.

They said being backed by Avangrid and Iberdrola would provide the New Mexico utility greater purchasing power and help move it closer to its carbon-free goals.

The multimillion merger plan was originally crafted in 2020.

Last January, PNM Resources filed a notice of appeal with the New Mexico Supreme Court after regulators rejected the proposed merger. The court heard oral arguments but have yet to issue a ruling.

Officials with Avangrid, which owns New York State Electric & Gas and other utilities in the Northeast, said Tuesday that there is no clear timing on the resolution of the court battle in New Mexico nor any subsequent regulatory actions.

The Public Regulation Commission had said it was concerned about Avangrid’s reliability and customer service track record in other states where it operates.

The elected commissioners also pointed to the company initially withholding information during the lengthy proceeding, a move that resulted in a $10,000 penalty.

Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy and a critic of the proposed merger, said Tuesday that Avangrid and Iberdrola’s customer service record and attitude toward regulatory oversight caused New Mexico regulators to reject the proposal.

“Their continuing failure to properly serve their customers is proof positive that the PRC made the right call,” she said, adding that New Mexico escaped a multinational corporate takeover of what she described as an essential piece of infrastructure for the rural state.

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Proposed merger of New Mexico, Connecticut energy companies ends; deal valued at more than $4.3B