Today Avangrid published a full-page ad in the Santa Fe New Mexican accusing New Energy Economy of "weaving a false tale" about their track record in Maine, but our testimony about their track record is based solidly on an independent audit ordered by the Maine Public Utility Commission - an audit that Avangrid/Iberdrola and PNM sought unsuccessfully to exclude from the record - as well as discovery provided directly from the company, court records and other independently verified news reports.
Avangrid/Iberdrola has revealed its true colors: bullies with tons of money to spare. It's true that New Energy Economy has it out for companies that seek to bulldoze New Mexico and exploit ratepayers. Avangrid/Iberdrola say that we are weaving tales, but they haven't provided any evidence or facts to rebut our specifics:
Central Maine Power is currently under investigation for undermining community solar and rooftop solar in Maine.
CEO of Avangrid Robert Kump admitted under oath in response to a question by a PRC Commissioner regarding Avangrid's technical proficiency to transition to solar that: "I’m not an engineer by trade, but in talking to our team, it’s a very, you know, complex issue, and one that we’re quite frankly learning on the fly as we go through this."
Avangrid/Iberdrola is largely invested in gas and nuclear and wind and have less than 2% solar in their portfolios.
Central Maine Power ranked last in 2018, 2019, and 2020, nationwide among 139 other utilities in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power.
Maine electricity customers endured the most frequent service interruptions and the longest outages of any state in the U.S. according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The most infamous of Mainers concerns was the role out of the SmartCare billing system, which was an utter debacle. It was first denied by the company and blamed on the customers themselves, and took more than three years to fix.
Its not just about Maine - in the last five years Avangrid and its subsidiaries in New York, Connecticut, and Maine have racked up $63Million in penalties and violations from regulators, including sanctioning Central Maine Power/Avangrid with the highest fine possible, $10M.
After 60% of the voters in Maine passed a referendum to halt Avangrid's nearly 150-mile transmission line through pristine forests Avangrid continued bulldozing the forest the next day - defying the will of the people.
Iberdrola was kicked out of Bolivia after the President accused Iberdrola of overcharging customers (paying three times more for their electricity).
Iberdrola is under criminal investigation from the Government of Spain for forgery and bribery. And in August 2021, during a heatwave, the Spanish government scolded Iberdrola over “scandalous” and "unreasonable" draining of reservoirs to just above 11%, while the Company sent electricity prices “soaring”.
In 2021 New Energy Economy stood as the sole intervenor opposing the transfer of our infrastructure and energy potential to Avangrid/Iberdrola. We stood up against the Attorney General for his failure to protect New Mexicans. We stood up against the billion dollar budgets of Avangrid and Iberdrola. And we won - the Hearing Examiner agreed with our arguments, recommending against the merger in the strongest possible terms: “the potential harms and risks outweigh the promised benefits.”
Victory is in sight but it is no way assured -- with the stakes so high we saw millions spent by the corporate energy conglomerate and the politics of influence rearing its ugly head stronger than ever before. We continue in the trenches - to educate the public, our allies, and our decision-makers - doing everything we can to secure the Commission’s vote AGAINST the merger and AGAINST the $300 million bailout and continuation of Four Corners coal. We are truly in the eye of the storm, but our motto this year is - Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win.