Posted: Saturday, April 22, 2017 7:00 pm
By Andrew Davis and Dee Homans
Public Service Company of New Mexico tried in recent weeks to make it harder for its investors and the public to judge whether its plans for the future make economic and environmental sense. Fortunately, it failed (“SEC: Disclosure resolutions can be voted on by shareholders,” March 2).
PNM Shareholders for a Responsible Future has submitted a number of shareholder resolutions to the company in the past two years. These proposals were intended to encourage PNM to plan actively for the inevitable transition to renewable energy and to inform its investors of those plans.
Last year our three proposals (on sustainability reporting, on greenhouse gas emissions, and on linking executive compensation to social and environmental metrics) were accepted by the company without opposition. We were, however, forced to go to Texas to present our proposals — the first time in at least 10 years that the annual meeting had been held outside New Mexico. Despite the inconvenience, the proposals were presented, and two received significant support in the voting by shareholders. As a direct result, PNM has shown a marked improvement in its reporting of sustainability issues on its website.
This year, however, the company has tried a different tactic. We submitted two proposals to be included in PNM’s annual meeting, one dealing with the issue of stranded assets (how the company will deal with assets, such as coal and coal-fired generation plants, which will in all likelihood lose value in a transition to a renewable future), the other asking PNM to publish an assessment of the long-term impacts on the company of the Paris climate accords, which require a reduction of emissions that will keep global warming below two degrees Celsius.
This year, PNM challenged our submissions before the Securities and Exchange Commission and hired lawyers to argue, at length, that they were already performing the studies and the reporting that the proposals asked for, and that the proposals were an unwarranted and unnecessary intrusion into the daily workings of the company. We were forced to respond, at some expense. Fortunately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disallowed the company’s arguments and found in our favor, and the proposals therefore must be included and voted on at PNM’s annual meeting in May.
This is a victory for PNM investors and for our community. Both have a stake in assuring that the company is as transparent as possible, in terms of its plans for the future and their environmental consequences; both want to see that the company is planning now, in an active, responsible and innovative fashion, for a new, renewable, energy future.
We encourage interested parties to purchase shares and come to the annual meeting in support. This will be held in Albuquerque on May 16. There is no minimum amount of stock required, but you should purchase it as soon as possible, to be sure to have your stock ownership recorded with PNM in time to be able to attend. For more information, both in general and on how to purchase stock, call 505-982-0501 or 505-690-1538.
The choices PNM makes now will have a dramatic effect on all of us. As New Mexico residents, we all have “skin in the game” already — whether we own stock or not.
Andrew Davis and Dee Homans are members of PNM Shareholders for a Responsible Future.
Read more here.