Don't let Avangrid brings its arrogance to New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Don’t let Avangrid brings its arrogance to New Mexico

On the front page of the Nov. 4 Portland Maine Press-Herald is a photo of an enormous power shovel tearing up trees to cut a swath through miles of pristine Maine forest to bring Canadian hydropower south for Avangrid, a subsidiary of a Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, to sell into Massachusetts. Avangrid bought Central Maine Power and wants to buy PNM.

Given current renewables and battery storage technology, the forest destruction in Maine is wholly uncalled for and heedless. What is particularly appalling is that Avangrid’s bulldozing of Maine’s forest continued after 60% of Maine’s citizens voted in a Nov. 4 referendum to forbid it. They, the people of Maine, heard all the arguments, pros, and cons, and said “no.”

Avangrid’s response to the vote of the people? “We’re going to do it, anyway!” Avangrid’s position is that the referendum was unlawful and can be ignored, notwithstanding it was on the ballot and passed by a wide margin. A poster child for corporate arrogance? Look no further than Avangrid.

If you had attended the PRC hearing on the Avangrid/PNM merger, you would have cheered the hearing examiner’s recommendation to reject Avangrid’s takeover. Consider some of the evidence:

1. After Avangrid bought Central Maine Power, it became No. 1 for unreliable electric service, with more blackouts than any other U.S. utility. Maine’s governor called Avangrid’s service “abysmal.”

2. Under Avangrid’s ownership, Central Maine Power had the lowest rating in J.D. Powers’s 2020 Electric Utility Customer Satisfaction survey among all U.S. power companies. The lowest! For three years in a row.

3. A public audit of Avangrid management found it consistently sacrificed effective operations and customer service in favor of profit.

4. Top executives of Avangrid’s parent, the Spanish multinational corporation Iberdrola, are under criminal investigation in Spain for bribery, falsification of commercial documents and privacy violations.

5. Avangrid’s motive to buy PNM is to give it a “beachhead” in New Mexico to develop non-utility electricity sales activities in the Southwest, risking that N.M. ratepayers will subsidize Avangrid’s corporate expansion in the region at the expense of providing New Mexicans with cost-effective, reliable power.

6. Avangrid and Iberdrola ignored PRC orders and rules, and incurred sanctions, creating a concern the PRC’s limited resources would be overtaxed in regulating Avangrid.

7. Approval of the buyout carries a risk of slowing development of New Mexico’s renewable energy resources and resulting higher rates.

8. Avangrid has refused to agree to an independent board of directors for the New Mexico utility, effectively leaving control of our state-granted electrical monopoly in the hands of foreign corporations.

A member of the Maine legislature testified at the hearing on the PNM merger: “Based on our experience in Maine and on my direct knowledge of Avangrid/Iberdrola, I do not believe the merger would be beneficial to PNM ratepayers or New Mexicans.” He provided many reasons for saying this, including Avangrid’s “dismal customer satisfaction ratings,” “unethical disconnect notices in the depths of winter during a pandemic” and “(e)nforcement actions in Maine, Connecticut and New York … illustrative of a pattern of mismanagement and disregard for customers and state authorities.”

Avangrid’s thumbing its nose at Maine voters, which occurred after the hearing examiner made his recommendation in the PNM case, completes the picture. Read the transcript on the PRC website. Raise your voices.

New Energy Economy, a Santa Fe-based environmental organization, has opposed the PNM/Avangrid merger before the PRC.

 

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Don’t let Avangrid brings its arrogance to New Mexico

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
We need to enact omnibus crime and gun law ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: State's violent crime rate needs ... OPINION: State's violent crime rate needs the 1-2 punch of an omnibus bill focused on harsher penalties and gun-control measures.
2
Tribal Remedy Framework addresses systemic inequities
From the newspaper
OPINION: Lawmakers should support tribal approach ... OPINION: Lawmakers should support tribal approach to improve educational outcomes for Native youth.
3
Dollars alone won't solve New Mexico's problems
From the newspaper
OPINION: The current system of distributing ... OPINION: The current system of distributing capital outlay funds needs an overhaul if we want those dollars to do the most good.
4
SB 9 will leave a legacy of conservation
From the newspaper
OPINION: Buy-in from diverse constituencies reflects ... OPINION: Buy-in from diverse constituencies reflects importance of what's at stake.
5
Students need financial literacy as a graduation requirement
From the newspaper
OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, ... OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, far too many employees turn to check-cashing outlets and get charged unnecessary fees, take out high-interest loans, or ...
6
NM needs to act quick to attract and keep ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: The average age of physicians ... OPINION: The average age of physicians in New Mexico is 53, so we can predict increasing shortages as retirements occur.
7
All downwinders deserve justice from US
From the newspaper
OPINION: The new bill would finally ... OPINION: The new bill would finally include those harmed by fallout from Trinity, which took place in populated areas of New Mexico.
8
Dizzy about divorce?
From the newspaper
The State Bar of New Mexico ... The State Bar of New Mexico may be a good place to start reviewing options.
9
Mexican wolf didn't have to be captured
From the newspaper
OPINION: Opposition to letting wolves roam ... OPINION: Opposition to letting wolves roam free has trumped the best science.