NM's largest utility seeks electric rate hike

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's largest electric utility filed Tuesday to increase rates by an average of 21.2 percent beginning next year.

Public Service Company of New Mexico's president and chief executive officer, Pat Vincent-Collawn, says the utility could not avoid the rate request.

If the increase is approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, it would be implemented in two phases starting in 2011.

Utility officials say the phase-in is designed to ease the impact on customers.

PNM says it has been investing to ensure the reliability of its system, with investments totaling more than $575 million through next year.

It says current and planned investments include expansion of substations and power lines in Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Alamogordo and other areas.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)