Time to Take on PNM

Retake the Roundhouse is committed to developing a more progressive NM State legislature, but the Roundhouse isn’t the only important game in town. The Public Regulation Commission yields a tremendous amount of power in all matters energy and within the next two weeks, the PRC will vote on a PNM-proposed $123.5 million rate hike that will be a disaster for New Mexico. For details on the proposed hike and what you can do to oppose it… 

The PRC could be a fierce advocate for the increased use of renewable energy and it could be a watchdog for our interests. It could be; but it is not.  And it is time to take action.  Today and throughout the next two weeks we need to get active, as the PRC is about to vote on PNM’s proposed $123.5 million rate hike. And as this blog describes, this is about far more than $123.5 million.  And there are things you can do. Once you finish reading this blog, forward it to others and encourage them to contact their PRC Commissioner.  To defeat this rate hike will require all of us to make calls, send emails, make noise. Read on. 

The PRC has consistently supported PNM’s ongoing reliance upon the dirtiest and now most expensive sources of energy: coal, nuclear and gas, at the expense of sustainable, less costly, more efficient and endlessly renewable sources of energy.  But as result of years of legal activism and political organizing by New Energy Economy and its allies and pressure by the Environmental Protection Agency, PNM was forced to agree to retire Units 2 & 3 at the San Juan coal plant and install pollution controls on Units 1 & 4, in order to bring them into compliance with Clean Air Act Regional Haze Requirements.

Unfortunately, PNM proposed a plan to replace the energy capacity from the retired units by bringing more coal, nuclear, and natural gas into its mix, for a total cost to ratepayers of approximately 66 million dollars a year starting in 2018, (not including any expenses for forthcoming carbon or coal ash regulations, or fuel cost increases). Earlier this year, faced with an opportunity to oppose PNM and insist on a more balanced energy portfolio, the PRC acquiesced to PNM pressure and approved a heinous coal replacement plan. For more on this plan and the PRC decision, click here.

In either its Sept 21 or Sept 28th meeting, the PRC will again vote on a key PNM proposal, an obscene $123.5 million rate increase, an increase that will force bill-payers like you and I to pay for PNM’s greedy decision to continue to rely upon nuclear and coal instead of renewable energy. And this rate hike goes far beyond the immediate $123.5 million increase in our bills. It will obligate the bill-payers–you and I–to subsidizing the Four Corners Power Plant for the next 15 years at the tune of $500 million dollars and obligate rate payers to cover all of the costs of cleaning up the inevitable closing of PNMs investments in coal and nuclear energy, a bill that, according to environmentalists, could easily top $1 billion.  For more from NEE on the rate case, click here.

Retake the Roundhouse is not only committed to developing a more progressive legislature, it is also committed to advocating on behalf of progressive, sustainable values with other bodies, like the PRC.  As Retake the Roundhouse develops into a more robust statewide network of advocates, we will be better able to influence the PRC and to credibly threaten Commissioners with  staunch opposition as they face re-election. Only last June, the voters in PRC District 1 (Bernalillo) demonstrated their wrath and voted PRC Commissioner, Karen Montoya out of office. Unfortunately, her replacement, Cynthia Hall, does not take office until January, three months before the rate hike decision. But other PRC Commissioners definitely noticed what happened to Montoya in June and are likely to be responsive to voter input. For information about how you can contact PRC Commissioners and let them know how you feel about this rate hike, click here.

This is our first chance to directly influence public policy. We don’t quite have our feet under us yet, but this is an excellent opportunity to reach out to your progressive friends, encourage them to contact the PRC and to find out more about Retake the Roundhouse. Share this blog with others and reach out to friends and ask them to sign up for Retake the Roundhouse

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