SB489 Energy Transition Act: Our Work to Address Structural Flaws in Omnibus Legislation Continues

Updated: Aug 24, 2019


"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." George Harrison


Following the Senator Sharer filibuster that stretched late into Wednesday evening, the New Mexico Senate approved SB489 which now heads to the House of Representatives, judiciary committee. There continues to be critical structural flaws in the bill that derails our hopes to transform New Mexico’s energy future and address the crisis of climate and rampant inequality and the hopeful Indigenous rising power.


We have been told by respected and trusted legislators that “the fix is in” on SB489, and that changes to bill language will be met with hostility.


There seems to be two paths: one doubles down on the corporate - trust us, “we know best” how to invest your money - to make us money, and it’ll trickle down, path. OR, we invest in our people. This has been stated popularly in many ways: 1% v. 99%, PNM’s dominant paradigm v. Picuris Pueblo's trailblazing effort. This is really what the fight has been about.


The reason our amendments were scorned and our rigorous analysis unanswered is because there was only one true reply: PNM hates the amendments. There was a deal made: increase RPS and PNM gets what they want.

We acted in good faith, believed in democracy and that the truth will prevail (or even be debated). But we realize that our efforts to create a level playing field in the bill instead of a one-sided PNM sweetheart deal have dwindled considerably.

In case you are still ready to weigh in with Reps on House Judiciary, here are the fundamental structural flaws that need changing in SB 489:

1) weakening of consumer protection laws that will eliminate the ability to challenge PNM’s financial requests and replacement power proposals;
2) enlarging PNM’s monopoly by making it nearly impossible for independent power producers and Pueblos to compete with PNM ownership of replacement power (evidence demonstrates that utility-owned resources are 49% higher for ratepayers than other power producers);
3) eviscerating PRC authority to alter the financing order (even if securitization doesn’t save ratepayers money) or review the imprudence of PNM investments; and
4) removing due process protections.

Though the sponsors refuse to engage in the issues we’ve raised, we have received quite a few positive responses from legislators concerned about language in SB489, telling us to "keep it up!" We will.

Read our latest ONE-PAGE analysis on SB489 [PDF]

One of our major concerns with SB489 is that it prevents competition for energy production. We’re not alone in our analysis! PNM investors are being led to believe that PNM will own all replacement power as well.

FACT: On 2/27/19, PNM's CFO, Chuck Eldred told Wall St. Investors about SB 489 and showed a slide of their "$2.3B investment plan" he said "our capital plans… [include] growth opportunities at $450 million [which] reflect the opportunities for replacement power." Read the transcript for yourself CLICK [PDF]

Despite that New Energy Economy’s financial expert, David Van Winkle has stated that SB 489 will cost $1,326,000,000, which will be set in stone for 25 years, in a “non-bypassable” charge on our monthly bill, the sponsors have not provided a counter argument (at all) about what the total costs will be. This Seems like a HUGE omission for such sweeping legislation!


Further, Van Winkle stated that if PNM didn’t get the end run around the PRC and had to make its case there, ratepayers would SAVE $404M! Do better at the PRC.

According to the Legislature’s Analysis of SB489’s Fiscal Impact Report on page 3: "FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The fiscal impacts of this bill are largely unquantifiable."

and on page 4: It would be cheaper for ratepayers to proceed with a case under traditional PRC ratemaking than the SB 489 securitization.


How can legislators adopt SB 489 if they have not seen any financial estimate of the total cost to ratepayers of SB489? And the legislature’s own analysis confirm ours, that we’d do better at the PRC.

Just as we're writing this email, A George Harrison song came on the radio, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

Thanks for staying tuned and we love you for joining us on this journey.

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600 Los Altos Norte

Santa Fe, NM 87501

Phone: (505) 989-7262

Tel: 505-989-7262

info@NewEnergyEconomy.org