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RSVP for Evening with Author Dahr Jamail, SB492 Passes Committee - *plus SB489 Amended to Be Worse

In this post

  • RSVP for "An Evening with Dahr Jamail" New Energy Economy Fundraiser Event

  • ATTEND and support HB210 Community Solar Act, hearing is 3/9 Saturday, 9AM in Senate Conservation, room 311

  • SB492 - "Ratepayer Protection Act" passes and SB456 "Competitive Procurement" is defeated

  • SB489 Keeps Morphing into a bigger and bigger corporate giveaway READ letter delivered to NM Legislators TODAY


RSVP for Evening with Dahr Jamail

You're invited to this special evening with Dahr Jamail. author of the most critical readings of our times, including his fourth book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.


As you know, Dahr is a dedicated and fearless truth-teller. From his work as an imbedded journalist in Iraq to his heart-breaking honesty in his portrayal of the tragic loss facing our planet from climate disruption, Dahr's work is about sustaining the gaze, no matter how painful.

He's a kindred spirit and a sustaining source of inspiration.

Funds generated from this fundraiser will support our truth-telling work at the Public Regulation Commission as we approach the abandonment case and more.

Complete your RSVP today for this limited (50) seat New Energy Economy fundraising event.


In a positive sign that legislators are grasping the dangers embedded in Senate Bill 489, the Energy Transition Act, Senate BIll 492, the Rate Payer Relief Act, aka "clean" securitization has passed its first committee hearing on a bipartisan 6-3 vote. It moves next to the Senate Corporations Committee.

Several committee members said they would have preferred Senator Soules bill over the Energy Transition Act, a highly complex omnibus bill that strives to be all things "renewable energy" in one and sacrifices consumer protections in the process. SB492, the Ratepayer Protection Act is free from the concerns that have caused New Energy Economy to oppose

SB489 unless amended.  

SB492 is model legislation which protects consumers and is supported by bonafide experts in the fields of energy utility law and finance from across the country. READ our one-pager on SB492 [PDF]

SB 492, The Ratepayer Relief Act, is a stand alone financing tool that can actually provide a transparent and public process to reduce ratepayer bills. The bill will require securitization bonding, only if it is proven that bonding provides tangible and quantifiable benefits to consumers.


At a time when competitive procurement standards are needed more than ever, SB456, was voted down in Senate Corporations yesterday. It appears that PNM and its new and old friends are effectively quashing any attempts to protect energy market competition in this year's Legislature. Though this bill was identified as one of the priority bills of the Environmental Alliance of New Mexico, some members of that same alliance who have hitched their wagons to the SB489 bandwagon, worked actively to undermine the bill.

Senate Bill 456 would have provided a backstop for New Mexico ratepayers as a means to protect against the utilities' propensity to rig energy bidding processes in their favor and select their own resources. It would have provided another tool for consumers and communities to protect against further investment in gas and nuclear.

SB489 - PNM Bailout Bill Draws from the Well, Again

From the beginning, the sheer complexity of Senate Bill 489, the Energy Transition Act has been a great obstacle in our efforts to protect ratepayers. NEW amendments to the bill threaten to raise electricity rates even further and worse, stifle New Mexico's emerging renewable energy market. Here's the rundown:

The Public Regulation Commission ruled in PNM's 2019 electricity rate case on the question of whether PNM's investment in the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant ("FCPP") was prudent. Given that only "prudently incurred investments" are eligible for cost recovery from ratepayers, (case 15-00261-UT) there is a possibility that the PRC could decide that consumers are not responsible for any costly investments at FCPP because PNM made its 2013 re-investment without financial analysis.

Yet, the Corporations committee yesterday approved amendments to SB 489 including one which specifically overrules the PRC protection of the public vis a vis PNM's corporate malfeasance with respect to its FCPP investments.

The amendment states: "no order of the commission shall disallow recovery of any undepreciated investments or decommissioning costs associated with the facility." p.82.

This is another PNM nearly $1 billion giveaway and means that PNM will be paid in full for its imprudent investments and PRC authority is nullified. This is a terrible amendment because it means that there really won't be any corporate accountability - and "no matter what," consumers will pay and PNM has won another "get away Scott-free" clause.

SB 489 allows PNM to make investments "necessary to maintain the safe and reliable operation of the qualifying generating facility prior to the facility's abandonment." p. 5 Section 2 H (d). Meaning, PNM can make any investment in San Juan or FCPP without any PRC oversight or scrutiny and it "shall" be included in the amount to be securitized as part of the financing order (which the PRC has no authority to modify). This is an expansion of PNM's license to spend, and that, as everyone knows all too well, ends up on our electricity bill.

We have heard from respected and trusted legislators that "the fix is in" on SB489 and no changes are being considered that would challenge the sections of the bill written by PNM for its benefit, and that the deal has been made between PNM and political leadership and everyone is being told to fall into line.

We have been told that this is the reason that no amendments addressing securitization, competitive procurement of replacement power, or Four Corners are being considered. It is our understanding that the lead enviro organizations supporting the bill have agreed to trade the gifts included in the bill for PNM in exchange for the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the other positive aspects of this bill.

While New Energy Economy supports the RPS as well as economic recovery and transition support for workers, impacted communities, especially indigenous communities, as well as tax revenue replacement for the school district, and apprenticeship programs, we cannot support a bill that passes all of those expenses ($1.3 billion) on to the ratepayers, squanders the opportunity to open the renewable energy market by expanding monopoly control, guts consumer protections, and absolves PNM of any financial responsibility.

Given that many who vote for SB 489 will do so against their better judgement, we encourage you to continue raising the hard questions, tell your representatives, the governor, and the advocates of the bill your concerns, and give them your take on the deal they have struck on all of our behalf.


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