We have noted that 2018 will be about defense and Wednesday two of our partners need us. At 9:30 at the PRC 350.org needs us to show up and testify and Common Cause, is asking us to show up to support the Secty of State. Details on these actions and others planned for the 2018 Roundhouse Session. The blog also includes sound advice from Sen. Peter Wirth.
Sorry to send out two in one day, but earlier today we described our 2018-19 Roundhouse strategy. You may have noticed that we didn’t mention much about 2018. That was not an oversight. Our team has had a laser focus on 2019 as we feel that is the time to play offense. 2019 will be our time!!!! But we are not going to be invisible at the Roundhouse in 2018 as we still need to play defense one more time. And so we call for you to join us at the Roundhouse to defend the Secretary of State, her budget to support the Public Election Fund. Earlier tomorrow at 9:30am at the PRC, 350NM and other environmental organizations are asking you to show up at the PRC to oppose SPS-XCEL (southern NM’s PNM) in its request to impose a tariff on solar users, a heinous effort to profit from home and business owners who invested in solar. We also provide advice from Sen. Peter Wirth about how to advocate effectively at the Roundhouse. One piece of advice from the Retake Roundhouse Advocacy Team: The need to be present at the Roundhouse emerges with little notice and yet, your presence really matters. Try to keep a flexible calendar over the next four weeks and because I suspect there will be a good many last minute urgent calls for action over the next few weeks, I’d STRONGLY suggest going to our Facebook page and liking the page as we will likely use that platform to send updates, perhaps multiple times a day. Click here to get to our FB page. Read on.
Action Alert: Gas & Oils Attempt to Thwart Renewables. Another Battle, Same Theme
The Public Regulation Commission (PRC) has an important topic on their Wed Jan 17, 2018 agenda related to the SPS-XCEL trying to increase solar tariffs on distributed solar. Distributed solar is basically when individual businesses or homeowners install solar to be used to power their home or business facilities. Utility companies rightfully seek some level of ‘tariff’ to provide the energy lines to “distribute” the energy collected by the panels. But now SPS-XCEL is trying to significantly increase its tariff in an obvious move to deter the expansion of solar and wind generation. This is an attempt by SPS-XCEL (which serves SW New Mexico) to impose new electric rates with higher costs on solar users, including homeowners and schools. The case # is 17-00255-UT.
Background: Vote Solar & the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy (CCAE) submitted a motion to dismiss these higher SPS rates for solar energy, but their motion was denied by the hearing examiner. They then appealed this ruling by the examiner, to the full PRC. The PRC hearing on that appeal will be heard tomorrow. 350.NM believes that public comments will be allowed before they hear arguments tomorrow morning. We are asking folks who are interested, to join us in making public comments. Our position is that the PRC should rule with Vote Solar & CCAE and approve their motion to dismiss these higher rates on solar users. We want policies and rates which encourage solar installs, not those that make it too costly. The main concern is that the PRC could be establishing a new precedent by approving these higher solar tariffs, allowing SPS-XCEL to recover ‘general system costs’ from solar users. And that this new interpretation of NM statute would be applied by other utilities like PNM, to impose new or higher solar tariffs on their customers. This could severely damage the rooftop solar business in our state by making fees so high that customers could not justify going solar. As an example, in their new rates, SPS is asking to increase solar fees for schools by up to 54%.
- What: PRC hearing on higher SPS solar tariffs (an appeal of hearing examiner’s ruling)
- When: 9:30am Jan 17, 2018
- Where: PERA building, 4th floor hearing room, 1120 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
- Carpool from Albuquerque: Meet by 7:55am in the parking lot of Sandia Casino at the Rainbow road entrance, just east of the stone bridge. We depart at 8am.
- What To Do: Show up tomorrow at 9:30 or call and write to your PRC Commissioner. And while usually Valerie Espinoza is a reliable ally, she appears to believe that this will benefit rate payers by causing solar installers (who she surmises are more affluent) to pay their share of energy costs for the region. But they already do. Roxanne and I generate solar that we ‘sell’ to PNM for about $.04 per KW. They sell it on the market for over $.11 per KW or almost a 300% profit on OUR investment.
Contact information for the PRC Commissioners is provided below. Tell them “you oppose SPS-XCEL’s proposal to increase the tariff on distributed generation and any other such effort to inhibit expansion of the renewable market.” And Valerie Espinoza needs to hear from you as she is inclined to support this tariff.
Cynthia B. Hall Commissioner – District 1
Cynthia.Hall@state.nm.us (505) 827-8015
Patrick H. Lyons (A consistent supporter of PNM)
Commissioner – District 2. Essentially the entire eastern half of the state)
Patrick.Lyons@state.nm.us (505) 827-4531
Valerie Espinoza– Chair (Consistent opponent to PNM. An ally. Thank her)
Commissioner – District 3 includes Santa Fe and then up the middle of the state to the Colorado border. See map above.
Valerie.Espinoza@state.nm.us (505) 827-4533
Lynda Lovejoy (Consistent supporter of PNM)
Commissioner – District 4 the northwest corner of the state, including the San Juan plant. Lynda.Lovejoy@state.nm.us (505) 827-8019
Sandy Jones (more often than not, supports PNM, but subject to influence)
Commissioner – District 5 the southwest quarter of the state, including Las Cruces and Silver City Sandy.Jones@state.nm.us (505) 827-8020
Join Retake Our Democracy and Common Cause at the Roundhouse Today at 1pm
We must stop a budget proposal in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee that could take 78 percent of the money earmarked for Public Campaign Finance to once again fund the Secretary of State’s official operating budget. Since the disastrous decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, big money has been flooding into our campaigns and corrupting our democracy.
For years, the Secretary of State’s office has been grossly underfunded, and legislators nearly each session move money from the state’s Public Election Fund to pay for elections and the general operating budget. This fund is intended to provide money to qualifying candidates for the PRC and statewide judicial races, and all of the funding MUST be restored this year given the number of races in 2018.
Stand with SOS Maggie Toulouse Oliver to Defend Public Campaign Finance at the House Appropriations and Finance Committee Hearing. With a $300M surplus in revenues last year, the SOS will be making the case for a budget that fully funds Public Campaign finance, and restores our institutional reserves that have been badly drained over the last three years of declining oil and gas revenues.
- DATE: TODAY!!!! Wednesday, January 17
- TIME: 1:30pm – 3:30pm (estimated), arrive early (1:00pm) to occupy available seating.
- WHERE: Santa Fe Roundhouse, Room 307
- Other Details: The room seats 200 people. Please volunteer your time to be present and recruit others to be there. The afternoon session begins at 1:30pm, and the Secretary of State is fifth on the agenda so it may be an hour or more before she is heard
Hope to see you there and if you have a Retake button, wear it prominently. If you don’t have one, bring $2 and I’ll give you one. Can’t make it today, below are the members of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee. The link underscoring their name will take you to their NMLegis.gov page which includes their district, and phone and email addresses. Take a moment to write to the Democratic members and if you know anyone from their district, send this post to them and encourage them to write and call and indicate that they are from their district.
|Representative||Patricia A. Lundstrom||D||Chair|
|Representative||George Dodge, Jr.||D||Vice Chair|
|Representative||Paul C. Bandy||R||Member|
|Representative||Randal S. Crowder||R||Member|
|Representative||Kelly K. Fajardo||R||Member|
|Representative||Jimmie C. Hall||R||Member|
|Representative||Larry A. Larrañaga||R||Member|
|Representative||Sarah Maestas Barnes||R||Member|
|Representative||Rodolpho “Rudy” S. Martinez||D||Member|
|Representative||Nick L. Salazar||D||Member|
|Representative||Tomás E. Salazar||D||Member|
|Representative||James E. Smith||R||Member|
|Representative||Candie G. Sweetser||D||Member|
|Representative||Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson||D||Member|
|Representative||James G. Townsend||R||Member|
Advice from Sen Wirth on What to Expect and What to Do at the Roundhouse
- Don’t be scared of the Round House – it’s your building
- Understand how bills become law
- E-mail is a great way to communicate with most legislators.
- If you meet with a legislator, be succinct in your presentation. Once a legislator tells you they support your bill, move on to your next vote.
- The best citizen lobbyists are a legislator’s constituents.
- Be courteous and, don’t forget your bill is one of thousands
- Don’t expect your bill to pass the first session.
- Find your legislator on the Senate or House floor or in a committee room before a session or hearing starts.
- Testify during the public comment period at committee meetings.
- Use the Legislature’s web site, www.nmlegis.gov. Track your bill, locate schedules for committees and the floors, view an archived hearing, and find out contact information for legislators.