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    New PRC can protect customers, right terrible no-vote mistake

    March 27, 2023 - David S. Campbell / albuquerque Attorney


      I read the Albuquerque Journal's March 20 article about the JP Morgan/El Paso Electric (EPE) merger comparing it to what happened with Avangrid and PNM. I find it unfathomable the former chair of the Public Regulation Commission, Steve Fischmann, would plead ignorance when it comes to all the issues JP Morgan faced, and to the protections the PRC imposed to ensure those issues would not, in turn, lead to concerns at EPE. Those same protections, plus many more, were included in the Avangrid/PNM merger documents, and yet … Fischmann assumed those protections would protect EPE customers but not PNM customers.

      Fischmann ignores the many more benefits presented in the Avangrid/PNM deal that never were proposed for EPE or any other electric utility merger in the state's history. We elected Fischmann and the other four commissioners to do their jobs - regulate the utilities and protect us, the ratepayers, from harm. It's good Fischmann is no longer a PRC commissioner.

      As we look to the new PRC and the possibility of Avangrid and PNM merging, it's important to look at what Avangrid is bringing to the table. Avangrid is one of the leading renewable energy companies in the country, and it is bringing more than $300 million in benefits to the entire state. This is the most robust benefit package ever to come before the PRC.

      Then there is the buying power and commitment to renewable energy, both critical to the state as we transition to being a carbon-neutral state. We should lead the nation in renewable energy, and Avangrid will help take us there.

      Politicians and businesspeople have been talking endlessly about diversifying our economy. Now we have an opportunity that will move us in the right direction. Avangrid has already expressed its commitment to economic development. And as proof of that commitment, it recently purchased $30 million in solar trackers from an Albuquerque company.

      New PRC commissioners have the tools to protect customers following a merger and have employed them successfully in the past, including in the JPMorgan/EPE deal. It is important to look at the facts, not just the rhetoric. Let's get this merger done and put New Mexico on the map as the renewable energy leader we can be.

      Subscribe to ABQjournal. Call 505-823-4400


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