State legislators have just passed an electricity restructuring law in New Mexico that includes a systems benefit charge recognising the "embedded generation" value of small renewables plant. The charge, a levy on electricity customers set at $0.003/kWh, is expected to provide $4 million a year in funding for renewable energy projects over five years starting in 2002, after which it would then double, if the Public Regulation Commission approves the increase. The law was approved in mid March and allows customers to choose their suppliers from January 1 of the same year. The bill also allows utilities to recover stranded costs over five years. Public Service Co of New Mexico says it has $600 million to $650 million in stranded debt. Governor Gary Johnson is expected to sign the bill, which he must do before April 12.
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