Last night more than 100 New Mexicans logged into our webinar to hear directly from former PRC Commissioner Joe Maestas, who voted with his colleagues to oppose the PNM Avangrid merger, and from Seth Berry of Our Power in Maine and Michelle Wenderlich of Metro Justice in NY, both of whom have direct experience living with Avangrid owned utilities. Their stories shocked the conscience, and exposed the fact that, as Seth Berry put it, "the only green that Avangrid cares about is the color of your money."
Former PRC Commissioner Maestas noted that when the Hearing Examiner heard that Avangrid's intention was to use New Mexico as a "beachhead" for its further profit from the Southwest, combined with evidence of non-compliance and skirting regulations at the El Cabo and La Jolla wind projects already operated by Avangrid in the state, it was not surprising that the Hearing Examiner questioned whether the merger was in the public interest. That suspicion was well founded, given the evidence of Avangrid and Iberdrola's performance around the world.
PERSONAL STORIES OF UTILITY NIGHTMARES IN NEW YORK, MAINE AND SCOTLAND
AND A HISTORY OF RATE INCREASES THAT FAR EXCEED INFLATION
And, as Mariel raised during the event, Iberdrola has predicted to its shareholders that it expects to make $4 Billion in capital expenditures in New Mexico. Given that it is ratepayers who are responsible to repay the capital expenditures of monopoly utilities, along with a hefty "Return on Equity" of near 10% in guaranteed profit on those expenditures for the shareholders, that $4 Billion guarantees significant future rate increases for New Mexicans if a merger is allowed to proceed. Public control of those capital expenditures, by contrast, could allow New Mexico to make the transition it needs without paying a hefty premium to the owners of Iberdrola and its shareholders, including Blackrock and the country of Qatar. Seth Berry noted that the transition to renewable energy will cost half as much if private profit is taken out of the equation! And on that note...
AVANGRID HAS PROVED IN BOTH MAINE AND NEW YORK THAT THEIR COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE ACTION EXTENDS ONLY SO FAR AS THEIR PROFIT MARGIN ALLOWS
WHERE DOES THE MERGER STAND NOW, AND WHAT CAN YOU DO?
PNM and Avangrid just announced an extension of the their merger agreement until July 20th as their motion to the Supreme Court to dismiss their appeal of the former PRC's rejection and remand the case back to the new PRC is considered. There is no formal timeline for the Supreme Court's decision on the motion jointly filed by the companies and the PRC, so meanwhile we hope that the public will actively get involved in giving the PRC a piece of their minds! Click the button below to tell us how you can get involved - whether that is talking to your friends, giving public comment, inviting us to come to your event or writing to the paper. The public's voice is of critical importance.