A former Texas public utilities commissioner is the latest to suggest that Santa Fe might benefit from establishing its own electric utility instead of relying on Public Service Company of New Mexico.
Karl Rábago says investor-owned power companies got started a century ago because it was thought that electricity was best generated from large centralized coal plants and distributed through guaranteed monopolies.
Now that relatively small natural gas-fired turbines are generating more electricity, with solar and wind sources coming on line, and smart grids, hyper-energy-efficient buildings and electric-powered vehicles on the horizon, that model is outmoded, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
“Add in climate change, acid rain, water scarcity and all the other things that also append to the central station power plant model and communities like Santa Fe and other places are saying, ‘Hey, I want my utilities to do more for me,’ ” he said.
Rábago, a former vice president for Austin Power, the Texas capital city’s municipally owned electric utility, will be one of three speakers at a public forum Wednesday, Sept. 18, to explore whether Santa Fe should acquire its own power system.