On Friday last week we filed a motion to compel discovery and request for remedy regarding the Spanish Supreme Court's investigation into Avangrid/Iberdrola’s Board Chairman Ignacio Galan for spying, bribery and fraud. Yesterday the Hearing Examiner gave Avangrid/Iberdrola three days to respond.
If you recall, in May the Hearing Examiner issued an Order requiring Joint Applicants PNM and Avangrid/Iberdrola to disclose violations, fines and proceedings in other jurisdictions that are necessary to inform New Mexico regulators about Avangrid's fitness to serve. PNM and Avangrid/Iberdrola responded with 2500 pages detailing violations, fines and proceedings at multiple subsidiaries, revealing more than $60 million in fines and disallowances. On June 24, 2021 they updated their wrongdoings with a “Notice,” however the Notice not only minimizes the seriousness of the “proceedings in other jurisdiction” it wholly fails to apprise the Commission, parties, and the public of accusations of bribery, corruption, spying, and production of fraudulent documents by Joint Applicant, Iberdrola and its Executive Committee.
On that same day, June 24th, Spain's supreme court ordered the investigation of Ignacio Galan and three other Iberdrola executives for charges of spying, bribery, privacy violations and document forgery. The court will probe the CEO's role in paying former police chief and convicted felon José Manuel Villarejo to spy on behalf of the company in order to eliminate government and environmental opposition to a gas-fired power plant and to gather dirt on its business rivals, employees and other members of the community. On July 9th, Iberdrola Renovables (Renewables) too was placed under formal investigation by Spain's High Court as part of the decade long investigation.
In our motion New Energy Economy requested that: 1) Avangrid/Iberdrola produce relevant documents to the Hearing Examiner and parties about the corruption and fraud investigation; 2) that Spanish Judge García-Castellón’s 23-page order be made available to the Hearing Examiner, the Commissioners and the parties in the case; and 3) Avangrid/Iberdrola produce relevant material in response to NEE’s 16th set of discovery, in which we seek answers about Iberdrola's conduct.
When this merger agreement was filed we were hopeful that Avangrid/Iberdrola might represent a positive shift from PNM's chronic mismanagement, but it has become clear that the company’s leadership is in fact corrupt and capable of serious misconduct, which poses a significant danger to New Mexico. There are more than a dozen accusations of fraud, bribery and harassment against top management at Avangrid/Iberdrola; they can’t all be without merit (expensive advertisements from Avangrid begging for your trust notwithstanding!). And we’ve already seen nefarious behavior during this proceeding that undermines confidence that Avangrid/Iberdrola will abide by regulation and comply with the law
From the beginning Avangrid/Iberdrola was sold to New Mexico as renewable energy experts, but we find that not only is their energy load primarily gas and nuclear, 20,000+ MW compared to just 8,500+ MW of wind and only 2% solar, their leadership cannot even be trusted to conduct business in an honest way and produce reliable energy at reasonable rates. According to Climate Action 100 (climateaction100.org) , Iberdrola meets just two of 10 climate tracking disclosure measures and is behind the sector average for phase-out of nuclear and gas. The climate crisis demands more!