Home News Local News CVE members get share of federal settlement money

CVE members get share of federal settlement money

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ARTESIA — It has been more than a decade since Artesia’s Central Valley Electric joined some others to file a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against Southwest Public Service Company. According to a CVE official, their members in Chaves and Eddy Counties have received more than $1.4 million through the Fuel and Purchased Adjustment balancing account.

Anderson

“For several years Central Valley Electric was battling our power supplier (SPS) at the FERC level on the rates that we were paying and different things,” said Mike Anderson, manager of finance and administration.

According to information supplied by CVE, they joined three other electric cooperatives and a Texas-based generation and transmission cooperative in an effort that they said would have protected the interests of their members and provide lower electric rates. That was filed in 2005.

“During that time, we were able to defer our expenses with permission from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission,” Anderson said.

The fight went from 2005 to 2015. Two years ago this past October, FERC issued an order approving a negotiated settlement, according to CVE.

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“All these rate cases that we had been battling in Washington D.C. at FERC have been settled,” said Anderson.

“When it was all said and done, the money that we got back from the cases, net of our expenses, was about $1.4 million,” he added.

Anderson said his company got the blessing of New Mexico’s PRC to pass it along to CVE members.

The payments started in October of 2016 and concluded in September of last year.

“Today, we still have those cheaper rates that we were battling for on top of what we gave back to them,” Anderson said. “We have cheaper rates now thanks to the FERC settlement.”

“This case deals with how rates are set for wholesale power sales to Central Valley and all the other co-ops and municipal systems that buy power from Xcel Energy (parent company of SPS),” said Wes Reeves, spokesperson, in a statement.

He said this particular federal case did not deal with rates paid by residential, commercial and industrial customers.

“Wholesale power rates are based in part on the costs to build and operate power plants,” Reeves said. “One of those costs is depreciation expense, and we changed the depreciation rate schedule at two power plants to reflect earlier retirement dates.”

Reeves said that affects the formulas used to calculate rates Xcel customers pay, “and this case is simply talking about those formulas.”

He added, “We are being allowed to proceed with the changed formulas with the understanding that we refund our customers should these plans change.”

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

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