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Xcel’s wind farm plans hit regulatory roadblock

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A hearing examiner is urging New Mexico regulators to reject an earnings proposal related to Xcel Energy’s two planned wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border.

At issue is a proposal that would allow the utility to recover lost earnings that accumulate between the time when the wind farms actually come online and when the state Public Regulation Commission approves new rates for cost recovery and profits on the projects.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the utility would collect lost earnings through a surcharge on customers’ bills once new rates take effect.

Hearing examiner Elizabeth Hurst says the proposal amounts to retroactive rate-making.

The interim rate design is part of a settlement negotiated with consumer advocates and others. Without it, utility officials say they might have to abandon the $1.6 billion project.

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