The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted to end the COVID moratorium on shutting off electricity for past-due PNM residential customers starting as soon as Aug. 12.
More than 47,000 customers are behind on their PNM bills and could face disconnection. PNM is pleading with customers to contact the utility immediately, asking them not to leave on the table millions of dollars in financial assistance reserved to help people get caught back up again and avoid a shutoff situation.
PNM is seeing $21.4 million in past-due customer electric bills while customers continue to be provided with power, despite non-payment, because the temporary emergency COVID moratorium had been in place since the start of the pandemic. However, customers are still responsible for paying for the energy they have used.
More than 47,000 PNM customers have an average past-due balance of $448 each.
There are three ways to avoid disconnection: Immediately pay the past-due balance in full, contact PNM to obtain financial assistance to help pay down or possibly pay off the balance, or contact PNM to get on a payment plan to pay over multiple months.
For help paying past-due PNM bills, apply online at PNM.com/help or call PNM at 855-364-2950 Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Just answer a few questions.
PNM will review your qualifications for the following assistance programs. In some cases, programs can be combined to maximize the amount of assistance received.
• The PNM COVID Customer Relief Fund provides a one-time credit of $50-$200 for qualifying residential customers.
• The PNM Good Neighbor Fund is an emergency assistance fund for PNM customers facing an unexpected financial hardship due to an emergency.
It may be able to cover part or all of a past-due PNM bill with as much as a $170 credit per income eligible residential customer. LIHEAP approval required.
• The New Mexico Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help low-income families with as much as $550 to pay your electric bill. Final dollar amount varies.
• The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available to New Mexico renters who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State of New Mexico is helping renters pay their rent, electric bills, gas bills, water and sewer, trash removal and other expenses related to housing costs such as hotel/motel costs.