NM Legislature Approves Utilities Bill

New Mexico – Legislation that would settle a dispute between public utilities and the renewable energy industry over third-party power purchase agreements is on its way to the governor.

The House and Senate gave final approval to two identical bills that clarify the definition of a public utility.

The bills say developers are not considered public utilities if they install, own and operate renewable energy generation equipment such as solar panels on a customer's property and sell the power to the customer.

The legislation backs up a ruling made in December by the state Public Regulation Commission.

Supporters say if signed, the legislation could increase investment in renewable energy distributed generation systems and help utilities meet New Mexico's standard for having a percentage of electricity come from renewable sources.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.