Mexico dodged a bullet! Avangrid/Iberdrola could not overcome their own track record of: outages and unreliability, diminished service quality, more than $63 million in penalties and violations, failure to abide Commission rules and law, the risk of subsidization of non-utility activities, and significant reduction in local control.
The Hearing Examiner and Commission found that these risks and harms are significantly outweighed by any benefits for ratepayers and our state claimed by Avangrid/Iberdrola/PNM. Even with the conditions accepted by signatories at this late date the modified Stipulation “will not eliminate those risks but instead will require sustained and vigilant regulatory oversight to maintain.” (Commission Order.) In summary, the Hearing Examiner and the Commission found that the merger was not in the public interest. Iberdrola/Avangrid testified that their goal was to use PNM as their “beachhead,” a military term to land and from where an attack can be launched. This Avangrid CEO admission is Iberdrola/Avangrid’s view: use PNM to consolidate renewable production for the financial growth of their companies. In other words, Iberdrola/Avangrid didn’t choose PNM so it could make PNM a better utility to provide better service to New Mexico. Iberdrola/Avangrid chose PNM to get a Southwestern ‘platform’ in the form of a government-protected monopoly from which to make more acquisitions and sell renewable energy for their private profit. All of us are in favor of renewable energy, which will shortly dominate the grid, but not for the exploitation of a foreign company with such a bad track record.
As the law requires, the Commission prioritized benefits for the ratepayers, prioritizing reliability, fair competition in the renewable energy industry, and ethical and professional behavior. Significantly, the Commission understands the sobering reality that it doesn’t have the people, money or time to police Avangrid for failure to abide the law. The PRC is to be congratulated for caring more about the future of New Mexicans than the pressure that had been brought to bear on it by PNM and Avangrid in the form of advertising and political pressure.
Due process protections and New Mexico Supreme Court law were followed and this decision is fair, just and reasonable.