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Albuquerque Journal Letters to the Editor - December 30, 2014

By ABQnews Staff UPDATED: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 5:29 am PUBLISHED: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 12:02 am

PNM customers overcharged

WHOA, NELLIE – here comes the PNM cruise liner. Again.

They want to increase residential customers by nearly 14 percent. The primary purpose to create more coal-burning facilities to generate electricity.

If PNM said it intended to create a solar or wind facility to generate electricity, I’d listen. Burning fuel – specifically coal – to create fuel never made much sense to me. Destroying the planet to make a profit – regardless of the service provided, makes no sense whatsoever.

But I digress. The fact is that the citizens of New Mexico are already overcharged: New Mexico already has (one of) the highest residential rates in the eight Mountain States region.

But, PNM knows all of the above and they still have the audacity to insist an obscene increase be charged to residential customers.

I’ve seen this occur more than I care to remember, but the outcome is always the same. The Public Regulation Commission loves this part: They huff and they puff – a lot – about how they will “protect” citizens from such an outrageous request. They will, however, acknowledge that PNM is indeed entitled to something. Maybe, say, only 10 percent instead of the 14 percent. The citizens of this fine state will have been spared.

The PNM people will object a little. The PRC people huff and puff some more about how they again have come to the rescue of the working stiffs. This latest PNM cruise will be allowed to sail on with only a 10 percent increase.

And as the PNM executives walk aboard with their 10 percent, one will say to the other: “Hey, we only really wanted eight percent, anyway!” And as the PNM cruise sets sail into the sunset, the sun glistens on the name of the PNM boat. Yup, you guessed it – “The Ship of Fools.”


Santa Fe

Solar switch doesn’t pay off

PNM IS BEING deceitful (in seeking an increase for solar power users). ” … by reducing their overall electric consumption through use of solar panels, they end up paying far less than other consumers to maintain the grid.”

Not true. Case in point. A letter from PNM told me that in the last three months before I had solar panels on my roof, I used 3,399 kilowatt hours. Similar homes used 1,533 kWh and my really efficient neighbors used 930 kWh. So, I used twice as much as my neighbors.

Now I get about half of my electricity from leasing solar panels on my roof. The panels don’t work at night. Therefore I will now use, and indirectly pay PNM for, about the same amount of electricity as my neighbors do. I will also provide power to PNM, which they are buying at the going rate.

One offsets the other in my lease arrangement, but I am still a PNM customer. Instead of saying “Good job! Thank you” for achieving this conservation goal, PNM is accusing me of being a mooch and planning to charge me more than it charges my neighbors!



Fees discourage solar power

SO PNM NOW wants to stick it those who tried to do the right thing and get solar power installed for their residences.

PNM falls back on the old and tired class envy argument that somehow solar residences are making their neighbors pay for infrastructure while they – the rich solar users – sit back and get something for nothing.

Of course PNM doesn’t mention that many solar systems put more power back into the grid than they use, and the time of day that they put power back into the grid is during peak-use times, which helps lower stress on the infrastructure. And PNM doesn’t mention that while they do pay a small amount for solar produced power, they turn around and sell it to other users for a profit during those most expensive and profitable peak hour times.

When solar users are actually using the infrastructure is mostly at nighttime, during off-peak hours – again less pressure on the system. I would assume that this profit that PNM makes from the resale of the produced solar power goes toward the maintenance of the infrastructure. Solar users already pay some fees that are taken out of their monthly production.

PNM is a regulated monopoly, which means they do not need to be efficient, and in fact they have a better chance of getting new money by being inefficient. And PNM obviously hates that there are residences that have done the right thing and cuts them out of a few dollars.

Do we want to discourage more solar development? Because creating a new tax on a false premise will certainly do this.



PNM should incentivize solar

I HAVE BEEN reading the articles in the Journal concerning PNM’s rate hike request to the PRC with interest. Do New Mexicans really want PNM to add fees to new solar installations so that PNM can buy a coal mine? Does it make sense for New Mexico residents to face an increase in electric rates when our personal real income is decreasing?

Last summer we added solar to our home, so we have first-hand knowledge of how the process works from the homeowner perspective. Currently, we are paying PNM a minimum of 9 cents per kWh – block one – for our electricity use, and they are paying us 3½ cents per kWh for the electricity we are generating. Thus, PNM makes 5½ cents per kWh on our excess solar energy. (From) September to November, 2014, we averaged 3.9 kWh per day electricity usage, and 28.3 kWh per day electricity generated. In the summer, when our electricity use exceeds our solar generation, we will pay PNM for our use, at a higher rate than they paid us for the electricity we generated the rest of the year.

We invested in the infrastructure on our end to build our mini power plant. We are not freeloading off the PNM infrastructure, we are the future of energy in America. Corporations profit when there is a centralized system, and profit less when there is a distributed system. That is the conversation here.

If PNM wants to attract new companies to New Mexico, then it could incentivize these businesses to install solar or wind. PNM could be a leader in developing an energy infrastructure which manages the variability of renewable energy input, rather than asking homeowners to pay higher fees so that they can buy or build large scale projects using non-renewable energy.

PNM could have vision and move us forward, but instead wants to charge New Mexico residents to invest in 20th century nonrenewable energy.



PNM has excellent spin docs

I HAVE TO congratulate the excellent spin doctors at PNM for the idea that customers who put up solar panels, buy energy efficient appliances and turn off lights should pay more for non-use of electricity while corporations receive rate cuts because, well, you know.

It won’t be long until I plant a garden in my backyard and go on a diet and therefore have to pay higher rates at the grocery store to offset the increased cost to other customers for my not buying as much food.



No commitment to renewables

RE: “SOLAR FEE is a lightning rod for Public Service Company plan,” (Dec. 12)

” ‘Customers receive between nine and 15 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity sold back to PNM, depending on the time of day and season,’ (Gerard) Ortiz (PNM vice president for regulatory affairs) said.”

That’s false. I installed my home solar rig over a year ago. I get 4.0 cents per kWh for electricity I sell back to PNM.

I seriously question whether PNM is able, either financially or culturally, to make the massive conversion to renewable sources of energy that the climate crisis requires. The drumfire of threatened rate increases is simply an attempt to forestall or delay that absolutely necessary conversion, in my opinion.

Perhaps it’s time to consider public ownership of this “public utility.”




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