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New Mexico Opening To Electric Competition

New Mexico Opening To Electric Competition

The New Mexico Legislature passed a bill opening the state's retail electric power market to competing suppliers beginning in 2001. The bill, passed unanimously by the state House of Representatives a week ago, goes to Gov. Gary Johnson, who was expected to sign it into law.

Under the terms of the bill, schools, residential consumers and small business customers will have a choice of power supplier beginning Jan. 1, 2001. Competition is to be expanded to all other customers Jan. 1, 2002. Residential customers who do not select a power supplier will continue to receive service under a competitively-priced standard offer approved by the state Public Regulation Commission (PRC).

Transmission and distribution services, together with such related services as meter-reading and billing, are to remain subject to PRC regulation.

Over a five-year transition period, utilities will be allowed to recover at least half their stranded costs. Utilities could recover up to 100% of those costs with the approval of the PRC. The bill also allows utilities to recover in full any costs incurred in implementing the change to a competitive market.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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