Fusion could avoid energy problems for consumers | My opinion


It is high time that our elected public officials with the Public Regulation Commission become part of the solution and not the problem. The mission of the PRC is to ensure that New Mexicans have sufficient and reliable electricity and utilities at the most reasonable price possible. Yet on December 8, the commissioners did the exact opposite when they voted 5-0 to reject the merger between Public Service Company of New Mexico and Avangrid.

The PRC rejected that merger even after PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn and executive after executive of PNM testified at the hearing that the utility lacked the capacity, finances and expertise. necessary to meet our state’s renewable energy needs in the near term as well. like further in the future. The commissioners heard the same testimony from dozens of leaders across our state and voted against this much-needed merger anyway.

Now customers are made aware that they may face power outages in the coming months as they transition to renewables. Continuing the life of the San Juan plant could avoid those outages, but the transition from fossil fuels to renewables continues to pose challenges.

Commissioner Steve Fischmann was quoted as saying: “And laying blame will not solve the looming crisis, much of which has been created by unforeseen circumstances, in particular the pandemic-induced supply chain issues that no one could not have foreseen.

“It’s the Monday morning quarterback,” Fischmann continued. “COVID-19 and supply chain issues have contributed to a set of circumstances that no one could have guessed. We need to stay focused on solving the problem for customers and not get into a blame game. »

Chairman Joe Maestas said the commission must work with PNM on quick fixes.

Of course, we blame the PRC. Securing the energy supply is the job of the commission and that is why its members were elected in the first place. This energy problem could be detrimental to families across our state, not to mention people in assisted living facilities, prisons, hospitals, etc. The incompetence of this RPC is beginning to show itself creating a scenario that we have just witnessed in Texas.

During the December hearing, the commissioners were asked: if PNM has already testified that it does not have the capacity to meet renewable energy targets for New Mexico, then what is the alternative? to meet these needs? The commissioners did not have an answer. Are the elected officials supposed to regulate and manage energy and electricity for our state of New Mexico? This problem is real and we need competent people to make these kinds of decisions which can have life or death consequences.

These are different times and we need solutions. States and corporations don’t walk around handing out excess energy like candy, because everyone is attracted to these high demands. I hope New Mexicans will realize that when we have 90 degree temperatures this summer, we will likely experience long power outages because the PRC refuses to move forward with real solutions.

The only solution we have right now is to approve the PNM-Avangrid merger so they can start working on what we need as a state to move forward. Now is not the time to play politics with incompetence. It is high time to provide New Mexicans with the power and infrastructure we need to function as a state.

If this PRC cannot deliver this to the New Mexicans, then it has shied away from its duties and put the New Mexicans in great danger. It’s time to do the right thing for New Mexico.

Ralph Arellanes is President and CEO of the New Mexico Hispanic Roundtable. He lives in Albuquerque.

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