Here are two news stories, Santa Fe New Mexican and Utility Dive, published yesterday on the Governor’s and legislators’ frustration with the PRC’s recent decision to question the applicability of the new Energy Transition Act (Act) to the closure of the San Juan Generating Station in the case recently filed by PNM. The majority voted to conduct the hearing on plant closure costs (“abandonment proceeding”) in a docket opened before the ETA was in effect, apparently hoping to avoid the application of the ETA’s terms to the PRC’s decision. As the Utility Dive article describes, I voted along with the majority, but only for the purpose of preserving my ability to seek reconsideration of that decision. What they don’t say is that, before this vote was taken, I had moved to pursue the case in a docket opened after the ETA was in effect, but that motion failed, 2-3.
I am concerned about this turn of events, as I want to move as quickly as possible to roll out the renewable energy mandate under the Act, provide economic and environmental justice to the affected communities and otherwise encourage the independent development of our vast renewable resources for sale both in New Mexico and other states, as well. And, while I support appointing rather than electing Commissioners, I think an equally significant cause of frustration besides Commissioner ineptitude (or outright malfeasance) is the process of regulating monopolies, itself, because it is so litigation intensive, which means it is more expensive and time-consuming than it could be, compromising the provision of vital services in a way that couldn’t exist in a competitive market. We need utility structure reform as much as we need regulatory reform, something you will probably be hearing more about in the near future.
As many of you know, I’m running for re-election in 2020 so I can help ensure we invest in our state’s future through sound decisions on energy policy in the face of ever-growing climate challenges. Please join our campaign today to help me work for New Mexico’s future.