Talk of the Town: Readers split on PNM/Avangrid merger 2.0 - Albuquerque Journal

Talk of the Town: Readers split on PNM/Avangrid merger 2.0

New Mexicans deserve Avangrid opportunities

AS A member of the Hispano Roundtable of New Mexico, I wholeheartedly support companies that create opportunities for our Hispanic residents.

The mission of the Hispano Roundtable of New Mexico is to seek the advancement of education, employment, economic development, environmental justice, civil rights and social justice for Hispanic Americans.

I support the Avangrid/PNM merger because of the opportunities that will be created for New Mexicans – specifically immediate rate credits for all PNM ratepayers, arrearage forgiveness for so many people struggling financially, electricity for customers in rural New Mexico, money for low-income efficiency, scholarships for our young people to pursue STEM educations, apprenticeships and probably most importantly, new high-paying jobs for our hard-working New Mexico families.

It’s not every day a multi-billion-dollar company comes knocking on our doors. New Mexico lacks big companies, and it’s part of the reason our state struggles financially and has so much poverty. Look at our neighbors — Texas, Colorado, Arizona even Utah — they all have large companies with large investments and thousands of high-paying jobs.

It’s time to level the playing field. It’s time to welcome Avangrid and all the opportunities it will provide us.

Margarita Avitia, Hispano Roundtable of New Mexico


Don’t blow this second chance at win for NM

WE HOPE the proposed PNM/Avangrid merger makes it back to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC). The former PRC’s decision to reject the merger could be one of the biggest failures in the state’s history.

IBEW 611 has been and continues to be supportive of the merger because of the benefits it will provide not only for our union members but for all New Mexicans.

The governor, our legislators and the utilities have committed to the Energy Transition Act and to having New Mexico lead the nation in renewable energy production. Given that commitment, why wouldn’t we want to partner with one of the leading renewable energy companies on the planet?

Just (this month) Avangrid announced a $30 million purchase from Albuquerque’s Array Technologies. That company employs hundreds of New Mexicans. And Avangrid has promised many more purchases like this one, which means even more high-paying jobs for the state.

The merger will bring more than $300 million in benefits to the state including direct savings to all PNM ratepayers, the guarantee of at least 150 jobs with an average salary of $80,000, $15 million to economic development projects, $1 million to an apprenticeship program that benefits our members and $1 million to STEM scholarships to benefit our young people and the state’s future.

For all the naysayers out there, think twice. This is an amazing opportunity; let’s not blow this second chance.

Pete Trujillo, Business Manager IBEW LU611


Public needs to hear all merger evidence

I’M A physician and rely on evidence in making diagnoses and treatment plans. When there’s new relevant evidence, I change the diagnosis and plan accordingly.

That’s what should happen with this case. Given that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, (Public Regulation Commission members) and PNM have already agreed to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the current lawsuit, I’m not expecting you to change your minds about this, but maybe you will remember some of these points made by New Energy Economy, which has become my current favorite charity. That’s been because of the evidence it has been providing, and I have yet to see any point-by-point reply from either PNM or the merger supporters that touches their critique. Plus, I have a close friend in the electricity industry in Maine who has only a very negative opinion of Avangrid’s performance.

Here’s what I want to share, based on information from NEE:

Due process — The public’s right to substantive due process must include the right to discovery, the requirement that PNM/Avangrid/Iberdrola prove their merger is in the public interest, parties have a right to cross-examine and refute those assertions with their own sworn testimony, a public hearing must ensue, followed by briefing and the commission’s written determination.

Avangrid/PNM and the (new) PRC’s effort to expedite the merger seems calculated to set up a procedure to avoid the extensive additional evidence that has come to light since the first 2021 hearing, such as: Avangrid has been fined $4.5 million by the state utility regulators of Connecticut for willfully violating a ban on collection efforts during the COVID crisis by garnisheeing the wages of customers who had been unable to pay their bills, resulting in fines of $10,000 per infraction. Avangrid violated the authority’s orders at least 204 times.

The future of our descendants is at stake.

Dr. George Greer, Santa Fe

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