In this post:
Replacement Power Hearing Concludes
Community Solar rescheduled for 8AM - 02/04/2020, 8AM
Atmosphere of Plutocracy Prevades as Western Resource Advocates go big on a fracked gas [AUDIO],
Joe Monahan speaks truth to power on the Energy Transition Act,
Join Dahr Jamail and Mariel Nanasi at Collected Works Bookstore Sunday, 11AM
We just finished the final day of the Replacement Power Hearing and to be honest, we are feeling really concerned about the state of our world. Not only is the climate in crisis but those in power continue to cede everything to the corporations, consolidate power, and erode our democracy.
Are we talking about the Impeachment Hearing? We certainly could be! There's no doubt that the Senate Hearing is casting a disturbing light on this week's energy decisions in New Mexico.
The Supreme Court decision, the introduction of the PRC reform bill, and the conclusion of the replacement power hearing all feel eerily in step with the atmosphere of plutocracy in our country.
As we shared with you earlier this week, one of the first revelations of the evidentiary hearing was that PNM had rigged the process once again - they admitted they've been working on plans for their proposed gas plant since 2013 and that all of the alternative scenarios they compared against were based on bids from other energy producers that expired in December. Given this admission, we were well positioned to argue that PNM has not met their burden of proof. Period.
But instead of holding PNM accountable, other parties in the case and the Hearing Examiners allowed PNM to skirt the rules by going back to the bidders now - AFTER the case has ended - and ask which bidders are willing to extend the terms of their responses. Nevermind the fact that this will eliminate some providers. Nevermind the fact that the price of renewables has dropped considerably since their 2 year old initial bids. Nevermind rules and regulations and due process.
Nevermind the working class and low-income New Mexicans and frontline communities who will bear the brunt of these decisions. How so? By giving cover to PNM instead of holding them to the burden of proof required by the law, these parties are increasing the likelihood that PNM's gas plant proposal will be approved.
Listen to Western Resource Advocates' lawyer, Steve Michel, trying to get our expert witness, award-winning climate journalist and writer Dahr Jamail to agree with him that a gas plant is a good idea.
Listen to Dahr describe just how dangerous a proposition any new fossil investment is and join us for a discussion with him this Sunday at Collected Works at 11AM. (See details and RSVP below)
NM Supremes Defend ETA And Dismiss PRC; Our Minority Opinion, Plus: The O'Malley-Candelaria Clash
Talk about a minority opinion. We have one today that has been swept aside by the powers-that-be. And away we go. . .
ABQ Dem State Senator Jacob Candelaria was thumping his chest and again berating the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) after the NM Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that said the controversial Energy Transition Act (ETA)--approved by the legislature last year--must be applied by the commission as it considers PNM's plans to shut down the coal-fired San Juan Generation Station near Farmington.
But as much as Candelaria and other PNM supporters argue the ETA will in the long run mean lower electric bills for consumers, that is far from assured. Take a look:
Utility executives have said residential customers would end up saving about $7 a month in the first year after the plant closes under its preferred proposal. They have not been able to say what, if any, savings customers would see after that due to uncertainties about the costs of replacing the power with a proposed mix of new natural gas plants, renewable energy and battery storage systems.
Enviros went gaga over the ETA because it also sets high renewable energy standards for the state. Like Candelaria, they exhibited no patience when it came to concerns of ordinary ratepayers while the five member PRC did. The majority of the commissioners argued that San Juan shutdown costs may be too weighted in favor of the utility.
But with enviros carrying "The End is Nigh" signs over climate change, giving away the store to PNM and balancing the bill on the backs of the working classes was of little concern. After all, we're saving the world here.
Candelaria's fervent defense of the utility was so complete and his attacks on those who did not share his views so vociferous (he called for impeachment of PRC commissioners and labeled them "corrupt") that it earned him the nickname "The Senator from PNM."
As for the chest thumping, he declared:
I applaud the court’s decision which puts an end to needless delay and political game playing at the PRC. The need for reforming a broken and incapable PRC is now more clear than ever. And now I ask my colleagues in the legislature to quickly pass Representative Small’s bill to professionalize the PRC.
Nothing like being gracious in victory.
The moment of truth for Candelaria and others who unfairly scorned the PRC as it attempted to weigh all sides of the argument, will eventually arrive. About the time Candelaria launches his expected campaign for Attorney General in 2022 San Juan will be closed. A year or two later we will hear from PNM about how they intend to resolve those "uncertainties" that today prevent them from saying what savings will occur for ratepayers. Will it be rate hikes, not savings, because everyone--except the PRC--turned a blind eye away from that question?
Climate change is real and the world needs to be saved. The argument that the ETA ruling puts more of the climate change cost burden on ordinary citizens than the corporation may have lost in court Wednesday but it's only round one. As the late, great Ernie Mills used to opine: "Don't say we didn't tell you."
We appreciate that Monahan is looking past the veneer. This is complex stuff. PNM has dozens of lawyers and experts who get paid millions of dollars to craft their case and ensure maximum profit and cover for the corporation.
At Wednesday's arguments before the Supreme Court - PNM's lawyers were joined by those of the Governor, Rep. Nathan Small, and Rep. Jacob Candelaria. Not a single party representing arguments against the ETA's application were permitted to argue before the Court. The result is that PNM will get hundreds of millions from ratepayers that it doesn’t deserve. If a court listens to only one side of a dispute, it’s no surprise that the side who gets to address the Court will win and that the side the Court excludes will lose.
(Irony of ironies that the public and ratepayers pay all the lawyers fees for PNM, the Governor, and legislators while their legal teams worked against our interests.)
The people of New Mexico deserve to be represented in these decisions. Thank you to Joe Monahan for having the courage to think critically about this issue and speak the truth to power.
Community Solar Act Moved AGAIN
The hearing for the Community Solar Act HB9 will be heard Tuesday, February 4 at 8AM in room 317 of the State Capitol building. See you Tuesday! It is currently first on the agenda.
COMMUNITY SOLAR ACT [HB9] HEARING Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8AM in room 317
Join us for the Committee hearing and stand in support.
Please also take the time to thank the sponsors and
call Committee members before Tuesday.
House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee
Chairman Matthew McQueen-D, Chair, (505) 986-4423, Santa Fe, Rm 316A, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair Angelica Rubio-D, Vice-Chair, (505) 986-4227, Las Cruces, Rm 203A, email@example.com
Rep. Abbas Akhil-D, (505) 986-4464, Albuquerque, Rm 203BN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Phelps Anderson-R, (505) 986-4450, Roswell, Rm 203GN, email@example.com
Rep. Joanne J. Ferrary-D, (505) 986-4338, Las Cruces, Rm 413B, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Rod Montoya-R, (505) 986-4758, Farmington, Rm 125B, email@example.com
SPONSOR Rep. Andrea Romero-D, Santa Fe (505) 986-4254, Santa Fe, Rm 203CN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Debra M. Sariñana-D, (505) 986-4227, Albuquerque, Rm 203A, email@example.com
Rep. Larry R. Scott-R, (505) 986-4450, Hobbs, Rm 203GN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Nathan P. Small, (505) 986-4438, Las Cruces, Rm 413B, email@example.com
Rep. Melanie A. Stansbury-D, (505) 986-4336, Albuquerque, Rm 203DN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. James R.J. Strickler-R, (505) 986-4220, Farmington, Rm 202B, email@example.com
Rep. James G. Townsend-R, (505) 986-4758, Artesia, Rm 125, firstname.lastname@example.org