First, thank you everyone who came out to celebrate the struggle together at our event on Tuesday night. Together we ate, laughed, sang, and cried, and together we smashed the stuffing out of the fossil fuel hegemony and all the cultural and social constructs that prop up its insidious power.
In these very dark days it is important to live, to remind each other that we still have power together as a community, to sing, to laugh, and to dispel darkness with the light of truth.
In fact the prerequisite of justice is truth. That is why the news that at COP28 the nations of the world finally dared to include the word "fossil fuels" in their final agreements was welcome (even if they have yet to sign onto any enforceable phaseout!), and that is why our victory in the rate case too, was so important.
After seven long years the Hearing Examiner made a finding of fact - PNM's investments in coal at the Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP) were imprudent.
Now that this fact has been established, we can argue for the justice truth demands. Today we filed our Exceptions in the PNM rate case to insist that the proper remedy for corporate exploitation be applied. We argued that:
The law, precedence and justice demand that imprudent investments require 100% disallowance for PNM's imprudent investments in extending the life of the Four Corners Coal Plant. The Hearing Examiner's paltry 32.4% disallowance from the $238M they calculate in actual harm to ratepayers cannot be allowed to stand. That number does not even quantify the harm from millions of tons of emissions and coal ash that continues to poison our air and water as a result of PNM's decision! Because customers of monopolistic enterprise do not have the choice to take their business to a more efficient provider, market forces provide no incentive for utilities to act prudently. Therefore, a utility’s only motivation to act prudently ‘arises from the prospect that imprudent costs’ may be disallowed. The PRC has a duty to protect against ratepayer exploitation.
PNM was already found to have imprudently decided to extend a 114MW lease and repurchase a 64.1MW interest in the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, and the Commission already decided that ratepayers should be insulated from future decommissioning liability as the only remedy for that decision. And yet still, in this case, PNM failed to comply with a direct order from the PRC to prove that its customers were not exposed to any additional liability compared to other resources. When PNM once again refused to obey the Commission’s order to perform a risk and cost analysis in this case, it concedes an inability to meet its burden of proof. The Commission required PNM to perform this analysis and present it, but PNM declined. Therefore, despite the Hearing Examiners decision to punt on this issue, the Commission should require PNM to be held responsible for all associated nuclear decommissioning costs now and in the future.
Now is the time to hold PNM accountable!