PNM, eco-left pulled one over on ratepayers - Albuquerque Journal

PNM, eco-left pulled one over on ratepayers

New Mexico’s energy workers and ratepayers deserve to know the truth.

As Public Service Company of New Mexico, the state’s largest electric utility, rolls out plans for adopting the Energy Transition Act, it’s time to take a closer look at the role the utility played behind the scenes in crafting the law.

The more we looked into the details of this closed-door process, the more concerned we grew for how New Mexicans were being treated by state government. Families who rely on inexpensive energy were left out as the environmental left created, lauded and now implements a law that will have severe consequences for everyone.

It turns out PNM and extreme eco-groups were at the center of the closed-door process.

Emails obtained by Power The Future show how PNM joined radical environmental groups in building the ETA. Specifically, PNM is included on emails discussing what changes it would agree to just as the law was working its way through the Legislature. PNM, lawmakers and the eco-left are included on the emails; New Mexico’s ratepayers are not.

In fact, after the ETA was signed, PNM sent an email to elected officials and environmental groups saying, “This transition puts PNM on new and scary ground, and we will need your clarity of vision to help us navigate this new world.” If PNM believes the ETA is “scary ground” for the utility, it should try being an energy worker or an electric ratepayer trying to support a family under PNM’s transition plans.

Through a spokesperson, PNM says there’s nothing to worry about because the cost of solar panels and windmills is going down. It’s a message that doesn’t square with reality.

Just a few months ago, the University of Chicago released a study showing the cost of taking on renewable power increases electric bills by a whopping 17%. Even in the current tax-and-spend attitude dominating in Santa Fe, imposing a 17% tax increase on poor families wouldn’t make the cut. Yet that’s exactly what the ETA is, a back-door carbon tax on New Mexico’s working families.

PNM, environmental groups and elected officials who support the ETA had every opportunity to defend ratepayers from increased costs, but instead they removed and voted against rate protections. We have emails showing that early versions of the ETA included language to keep electric rates low, but these protections were later taken out. Environmental groups and PNM stood quietly by while protections for New Mexico’s families were removed.

The next time PNM tries to tell you that your bill will drop $7 under its transition plan, ask why the utility didn’t fight to make sure consumer rate protections were in the law.

It’s probably because PNM understands the lessons already learned in places like California and Germany. Germany had to acknowledge it couldn’t meet the goals to phase out coal. In fact, it announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and part of a forest to get to coal after renewable goals became impossible.

In California, residents are paying a lot more for their power, thanks to renewable mandates. According to the Energy Information Administration, New Mexicans pay 12.75 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is already more than all of our neighbors except Arizona. In California, that same kilowatt-hour costs 18.90 cents or 48% more. Renewable mandates are more costly for consumers in the United States and around the world. However, there is an even deeper cost to New Mexicans.

Energy workers, businesses that support them and communities will lose jobs. PNM is quick to point out that the plan offers money for retraining and nine months of severance pay. Similar to the promises made in the Midwest and Appalachia, those dollars will be spent, and the void will remain.

However, there is something energy workers want much more than severance pay and promises for more training – they want a job.

And that’s something PNM’s plans and eco-left policies will never deliver.


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