In this time of unprecedented financial struggle - we are joined by more and more Americans who are asking why corporations have so many tools to protect their private interests and bottom lines and the people have so few. If there's ever been a time to challenge those structural imbalances and inequities in our laws and institutions -- it's now. In August New Energy Economy intervened in PRC case 20-00121-UT, PNM's application for a "rate adjustment mechanism". PNM is seeking to "decouple" their revenue from the actual energy levels we consume. PNM wants to be able to make just as much money no matter how much we succeed in our efforts to cutdown our electricity use. A guaranteed income!....but not the kind we've all been calling for.
PNM's decoupling proposal provides a guaranteed income for a corporation that already extracts tens of millions in profits from New Mexicans each year. While some decoupling proposals can benefit consumers and be a tool for reducing emissions when properly designed and timed, PNM's is just another money grab. Don't just take our word for it --
Last week we were incredibly honored to file the expert testimony of our amazing New Energy Economy witness -- Christopher K Sandberg. Mr. Sandberg is an attorney with decades of experience not only practicing utility law but teaching it! He's advised Commissioners in his role as Minnesota Public Utility Commission staff, and he served as an Assistant Attorney General in Minnesota where the AG actually serves as the ratepayer advocate we wish we had.
And we're certainly not the only ones that are outraged and working hard to expose the truth on this issue. Legislative analyst Merrie Lee Soules wrote about her opposition to decoupling in the Albuquerque Journal, and it turns out that an Engineer who worked for PNM for years also felt the need to stand up for justice:
If you want to speak up against this: There is a public comment hearing on this matter coming up on Thursday October 8th starting at 10:00 a.m. Any member of the public can provide comment for up to 3 minutes. The public comment hearing will take place via Zoom. In order to participate in the public comment session you must request a Zoom invitation by e-mailing Ana Kippenbrock at Ana.Kippenbrock@state.nm.us before 5:00 p.m. MDT on October 5, 2020.
New Mexico is a poor state. Income statistics for New Mexico from the US Census Bureau BEFORE the pandemic show that our median household income is 20% lower than the national average and that 19.5% of our community members live in poverty, compared to 11.8% nationally. In the New Mexican last week there's an article about Secretary of Workforce Solutions McCamley who said that about 123,000 of our fellow New Mexicans are receiving unemployment benefits as of last week in a state of 2.1 million residents. That’s up from 9,600 active claims in March before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.That’s up from 9,600 active claims in March before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. In this context, it is shameful that the largest NM corporation is making moves to guarantee its revenues at the expense of New Mexicans.