The Santa Fe County Commission voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of Local Choice Energy. Thank you Santa Fe! And thank you to all those who showed up to speak for energy choice and a livable climate future. We know that opposition to the Local Choice Energy Act is PNM's number one priority this legislative session, and we also know how they use misinformation and underhanded political tactics to ensure that their lucrative monopoly business model continues to line their pockets at the expense of New Mexicans. At the county hearing we heard their misleading talking points.
False: Local Choice Energy will lead to dangerous accidents at transformers and substations due to hiring of unqualified workers.
True: Current investor-owned-utilities, (PNM, EPE, and SPS) will continue to provide transmission and distribution services. Local Choice Energy providers will pay for these transmission and distribution services at the same retail rates PNM charges others. In the 10 other states that have energy choice, the investor-owned-utilities continue to manage the transformers and substations. There is no evidence of "dangerous accidents."
False: Customers will have to pay two separate bills.
True: Customers will receive one bill from the utility provider they select (either the Local Choice Provider or the existing utility), and any transmission and distribution fees being paid to the utility for that service will be included in that single bill.
False: Local Choice Energy could actually raise rates for customers, not lower them.
True: Local Choice Energy is not subject to the same financial constraints that raise prices for customers: no ridiculous senior management pay (for instance, PNM's CEO makes $9Million a year); no requirement to pay Return on Equity, "ROE", (a guaranteed percentage added on top of all capital assets exported to Wall St. utilities' shareholders - PNM gets a 9.575% ROE and is asking for an increase to 10.25%); access to low-cost financing through tax-exempt bond rates; because it is a not-for-profit no federal income taxes. Not only are consumer rates competitive, sometimes lower by 15-20%, but more often than not, Local Choice Providers enjoy price stability, which is particularly important for low-income customers and small businesses. Local Choice Energy will allow local municipalities to design innovative programs to meet their communities needs, like senior rates, low-income rates, time-of-use rates, and more.
False: Local Choice Energy won’t have the broad, real-time awareness to make rapid decisions and will lead to brownouts or blackouts.
True: Local Choice Energy will hire competent professionals to run a fully reliable and safe utility (the water utilities are probably the best run, most effective government entities in the entire state). The evidence demonstrates that nationally these not-for-profit local utilities are safer, more reliable, more agile, and more resilient. In fact, it is beyond dispute that all 100% renewable communities are served by community-owned electricity providers and that not-for-profit local utilities have had faster and more resilient responses during climate-related emergency situations. In states that have this option there have been no brownouts, blackouts, or safety and reliability issues.
The unspoken truth? This bill allows Local Choice Energy providers to compete with the investor-owned-utilities, threatening their stranglehold over our energy economy.
FALSE CLIMATE SOLUTIONS CONTINUE TO WASTE OUR TIME AND RESOURCES
When you are faced with a problem do you get to work first on the 90% of the problem that you have the solutions for, or do you skip to the final 10% that you're not yet sure how to fix? The answer is obvious right? Why then has our legislature failed to take action to invest in wide-scale solar, wind and battery storage development across the state, instead focusing myopically on the final 10% of hard to abate emissions that hydrogen proponents offer as the excuse for state investment in their dirty industry?
As we reported on Tuesday, HB174, the Underground Injection Fund Act passed the House Energy committee on a vote of 6-4, with Rep. Small and Rep. Dixon voting with all the Republicans to speed the way for permitting of Class VI injection wells for capture of CO2, wells that might eventually have the capacity to store .01% of annual carbon emissions. What a colossal waste of time. Time that we do not have.
Why aren't we investing our time and money into proven climate solutions while research continues to find truly clean alternatives for the final 10% of emissions? Because the oil and gas industry is funding these delay tactics under the cover of "decarbonization" and "public health" arguments that have no merit.