Action Alert for Today & Tuesday, Jan 30: PNM Goes to Roundhouse Committee

There is no more important bill in the Roundhouse this session and it is going to the Senate Conservation Committee on Tuesday, but now is the time to reach out to members of the Committee and the Committee Chair–who is running for Governor and telling them how you feel and reminding them that you vote. Details.

Speak Up NM! If you haven’t been tracking the blog the last few days, working with 25 non-profit advocacy organizations, we have created a list of priority bills for the 2019 Roundhouse, when we can go on offense. Speak Up NM! A Survey of 2019 Legislative Priorities is your opportunity to express your views about bills you’d like to see passed in 2019. If you want to better understand the myriad of ways survey results will be used, click here to read our strategy. If you want to complete the severe (10 minutes is all it takes), click the big, blue button at left. In just 3 days almost 300 folks have responded with people from over 35 House Districts represented. Speak Up and tell us and your legislators what you want in 2019.  So far minimum wage increase, health security act and increased investment in renewables are far and away the most highly supported bills. If you have taken the poll, your task today (please!!!) is to send it to 10 friends and ask that they complete the survey and maybe chat it up a bit about how it will be used to vet candidates, to focus lobbying, and to get what we want from our elected officials. It is time to: SpeakUp NM!!!

As to 2018, read on.

PNM’s SB47/HB80: As Bad as it Gets: So Speak Up NM! in 2018, Too!

New Energy Economy needs your help defeating SB47/HB80, PNM’s $350+ million securitization bill. PNM knows that this Governor will give them whatever they want, so it is racing against the clock to pass a bill this session. SB47/HB80 provides a major windfall for PNM shareholders and executives, and locks in and expands its monopoly in New Mexico. Why should PNM own all future energy generation and tack on their guaranteed profit of nearly 10% to the costs of all renewables? They shouldn’t. We want a competitive clean energy competitive market that guarantees the least cost! And we don’t want the arch-enemy of all things renewable in charge of our renewable future. A Senate Conservation Committee hearing has been scheduled for Tue., Jan 30 at 1:30 in Roundhouse Room 311 and we need to be there in force. And there is work to be done between now and then. Read on.

This bill is disastrous for these top five reasons:
1. PNM should NOT be awarded 100% recovery for its failed investments from ratepayers. The PRC has already determined that at most they should split this cost equally between shareholders and ratepayers and the PRC may give them zero.
2. The Legislature should NOT award PNM any more money than PNM would get at the PRC. At maximum, PNM would get 50% at the PRC.
3. PNM falsely claims that SB 47/HB 80 will save ratepayers money.
4. SB 47/HB 80 is premature and needs to be vetted in a litigated hearing. If PNM were a trusted partner, then every assertion they make and every proposal they advance would not need to be litigated, but that is not PNM’s style. They twist the truth and bend reality and only in the context of a fully contested hearing in the PRC is there any hope of arriving at the truth. Taking them for their word and using their word as the basis for a legislative award, is absurd. And they have earned our suspicion and now must pay the cost of being habitually disingenuous.
5. SB 47/HB 80 guarantees PNM ownership for all its replacement power. This is a huge deal and at present the deal they are offering should be a total end to the discussion.
 Other things you can do to help:
1. Print this letter, sign it and bring it in to New Energy Economy at 343 E. Alameda so we can deliver yours with hundreds more. Ask your friends to do the same.
3. Sign up to engage your legislators and demand that they vote against this bailout bill. The lawmakers actually need to hear from YOU. There is contact information at the bottom of this blog for all the Senate Conservation Committee members.
Join New Energy Economy for a training at noon on Monday at their offices at 343 E Alameda. This is a great opportunity to turn in your letter, too. There is also a webinar on how to lobby against this bill. 1pm on Monday. Here are your options:
Join via Phone: +1 (832) 706-2490.  Conference PIN: 719114#

True, its kinda crazy that we have to work this hard to defeat this bad a bill, but unfortunately PNM has an army of lobbyists, they are desperate and they will be stopped by you and us!

Activism is the antidote to despair.

  1. A payment by ratepayers — that’s us — of $350 million to the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) for the coal plant profits it would have made if San Juan stayed open until 2053 (NO U.S.A. coal plant has remained open for 85 years)–Think about that. If you owned a business and purchased a piece of expensive equipment and profited from it for 30 years but then found it to be too costly to operate at a profit, would you be able to charge your customers the amount of profit that equipment had been generating….for another 35 years, with your customers getting no benefit from this?  That is PNM’s deal. I can’t believe this is even being considered and Sen. Jacob Candelaria (a Democrat) should be ashamed for introducing the bill.
  2. San Juan is now scheduled to close in 2022 because it is uneconomic. PNM’s coal plants can’t compete against less costly solar and wind; 
  3. PNM’s management has continued to invest hundreds of millions in its toxic coal plants that are more expensive, contribute to climate change, pollute the land, air and water, and generate more than $50 million in annual health care costs like asthma and heart disease;
  4. SB 47/HB 80 will expand PNM’s monopoly control over electric generation and require that all replacement energy power be owned by PNM — to the exclusion of other energy market producers.  This will suppress energy competition and jobs.
  5. SB 47/HB 80 virtually guarantees that we will pay more for our energy because there will be no open competition from other businesses. 
  6. PNM is trying to do an end-around the NM regulatory process because they know they would never get 100% of their supposed lost future revenue from ratepayers before the NMPRC. They are also attempting to circumvent the evidentiary hearing process where they would have to divulge information about the costs of cleanup and the impacts of their coal plant retirements on mine workers & local communities. 
  7. This bill is a blank check from ratepayers to PNM’s Wall St. shareholders — the bill as written does not stop at San Juan’s failed costs, it is written as an open-ended avenue for PNM to recoup its losses. This bill could be used by PNM to recoup from ratepayers its unprofitable investments at the Four Corners coal plant, inadequate funds for reclamation and decommissioning trusts in many of PNM’s coal, nuclear, and gas plants. Along ago, PNM promised that part of their obligation is to pay the cost of decommissioning and reclamation, but this ruling could set a precedent for PNM later saying that the costs for cleaning up their mess is higher than they thought and so hey, how about $500M to help them out.

An alternative bill must: 1) split the San Juan abandonment costs; 2) no monopoly on replacement power; and 3) fully vet regulatory issues 

Contact Information. Of course, if any of the legislators below are your elected representative, you want to stress that, but otherwise you do not have to disclose where you are from in your emails or calls. Besides these people represent all our interests and they need to hear from us today and Monday afternoon as they prepare for the hearing. 

Speaking points are easily plucked from this blog, but to make it easy:  1) By going to the Roundhouse, PNM is avoiding the PRC who is rightfully charged with regulating PNM. 2) The PRC is on record as saying they will not pay PNM anything more than 50% of their claimed losses; and this bill would extend PNM’s energy monopoly indefinitely and lead to a slower, more expensive transition to renewables; and 4) PNM has misrepresented the facts so often, they are simply not a trustworthy partner. They may alter the deal currently on the table, but it will always be at our expense and to their benefit. Period.

Contact Information below. Just click on the blue name and it will take you to phone and email contact info. It is most important to reach the Chair, Joe Cervantes, with whom I spoke at some length at the Progressive Summit, Liz Stefanics who many of us canvassed for, Peter Wirth, who is in many of our districts and who is the leader of the Senate and Richard Martinez who represents parts of Rio Arriba, Los Alamos and Sandoval County. THIS BILL SIMPLY CAN’T PASS and no amount of dissembling or promises from PNM are enough. They have lied and misrepresented facts for far too long for us to suddenly trust this shameless attempt to circumvent scrutiny. Use the speaking points below and push hard on this.  Call and email today and Monday. And be at the Roundhouse Room 311 at 1:30pm on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Title Name Party Role
Senator Joseph Cervantes D Chair
Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics D Vice Chair
Senator Ron Griggs R Member
Senator Richard C. Martinez D Member
Senator Cisco McSorley D Member
Senator William H. Payne R Member
Senator William P. Soules D Member
Senator Peter Wirth D Member
Senator Pat Woods R Ranking Member

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