BLOOMFIELD – Guzman Energy has been a driving force behind increasing renewable energy for small utilities in northern New Mexico. Now it has agreed to help the City of Bloomfield take the next step toward forming its own municipal utility.
In exchange, Bloomfield may enter into a power supply agreement if the city chooses to go forward with acquiring the utility.
The Bloomfield City Council recently voted 3 to 1 in favor of signing the letter of agreement with Guzman Energy. Councilor Sue Finch, who attended the meeting via phone, cast the lone dissenting vote. A panel of 20 Bloomfield residents also voted in favor prior to the council meeting.
“The vote by the council last night does not mean that we are forming an electric utility,” said City Attorney Ryan Lane during a special meeting on May 29, the day after the City Council meeting.
Bloomfield has been pursuing forming a municipal utility for years. In 2015, it sued the City of Farmington in an attempt to acquire electric utility assets from Farmington Electric Utility System.
Bloomfield alleged that Farmington was required by a 1960s court judgment and decree to allow Bloomfield to purchase the electric utility assets from Farmington.
A district judge ruled in favor of Bloomfield last year. Lane described that multi-year litigation as the first phase. Now the two cities must agree on a price of the assets. If the cities cannot reach an agreement, the district court will set a price.
Lane said the two cities believe they can negotiate a price outside of court.