- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The top executives who oversee the parent company of New Mexico’s largest electric utility could earn more than $8.6 million in total compensation if they meet their performance goals.

New salaries, benefits and incentive pay were approved Tuesday at the annual shareholders meeting for PNM Resources.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://bit.ly/2qpbHoO ) that the combined compensation is down from about $10 million in 2015 but up from nearly $7.5 million in 2014.

PNM Resources president and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn could earn more than $4 million, down from $5.2 million last year. Less than one quarter of her compensation is base pay; the rest comes from stock options, incentive awards and benefits that are tied to performance goals.

Company spokesman Pahl Shipley said ratepayers are responsible for just a small percentage of the executives’ base pay. Shareholders pay for all of the incentive-based compensation.

On Tuesday, shareholders also voted against two climate change-related proposals, including one that would have required the utility to prepare a report on transitioning away from fossil fuels. The utility has said it already has plans to go coal-free by 2031.

The other proposal called for a risk assessment on the potential for stranded costs from the utility’s fossil fuel generation as the grid shifts to more solar and wind sources.

The PNM Resources board said the risk assessment would be too speculative to be useful.

In her annual speech, Vincent-Collawn said the utility’s plan calls for a complete shutdown of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington by 2022 and its 13 percent stake at the nearby Four Corners Power Plant a few years later. The company also plans to continue adding renewable resources to its portfolio.

“Transformative change will shape the future,” Vincent-Collawn said. “The way energy is produced and how customers use it is quickly evolving . We all embrace this revolution and continue to address it in our business plans.”

Environmentalists demonstrated outside Tuesday’s meeting, repeating their call for more renewable energy. Some argued that the utility has been slow to end its dependence on fossil-fuel generation.

“As PNM is finally acknowledging that market forces have made its coal power uneconomical, it’s time for the company to plan for community and worker transition, including clean-energy reinvestment in the Four Corners communities,” said David Coss, chair of the Sierra Club’s Rio Grande chapter.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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