NM's largest utility seeks electric rate hike

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's largest electric utility filed a request with state regulators Tuesday for a rate increase that would add $10 a month to the average customer's bills starting sometime next year.

Public Service Company of New Mexico is asking the Public Regulation Commission for permission to boost rates by an average of 21.2% in two phases.

The second phase would add about $4 more to customers' bills in 2012.

PNM says phasing in the rate hike would help ease its impact.

PNM's chief executive officer, Pat Vincent-Collawn, says the utility understands this is not a great time to ask for a rate increase.

However, she says the request was unavoidable.

PNM has raised rates by 24% over the past three years.