Monday, November 26, 2012
Support Solar Energy Targets for New Mexico
From the NM Green Chamber of Commerce:
Action item: Click here to sign the letter to Vice Chair Commissioner Becenti-Aguilar, the swing vote on this issue, and you will receive notification of the mid-December PRC meeting to review the case.
The Reasonable Cost Threshold/Solar Diversity Target case (Case 11-00218-UT) before the Public Regulation Commission will have a dramatic impact on solar energy development. Cutting the solar target in half or completely, as some interveners are proposing, will mean job losses and worker lay-offs, and a return to more use of polluting fossil fuels.
This case has taken 17 months and now the Attorney General and the New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers are proposing to push the decision into next year, and a new Public Regulation Commission.
The current uncertainty and indecision by the Public Regulation Commission makes it impossible for renewable energy companies to make future business plans.
Solar remains wildly popular in our state, with a 2012 bi-partisan poll demonstrating an overwhelming majority of New Mexicans (66 percent) that want more of their energy to come from solar.
Please take the following steps:
- Click here to sign the letter to Vice Chair Commissioner Becenti-Aguilar, the swing vote on this issue, and you will receive notification of the mid-December PRC meeting to review the case.
- Call your Public Regulation Commissioner: Urge them to vote on the RCT rulemaking process before the end of this term. Urge them to support jobs in every part of the state, by supporting a diverse renewable energy portfolio with an aggressive solar target that continues to help build that industry. Urge them to maintain the current solar targets and continue to help provide both clean energy for consumers and jobs for electricians, technicians, and construction workers.
Jason A. Marks
Commissioner - District 1
Patrick H. Lyons Commissioner - District 2 [email protected]
Douglas J. Howe Commissioner - District 3 [email protected]
Theresa Becenti-Aguilar Vice Chair Commissioner - District 4 [email protected]
Ben L. Hall Commissioner - District 5 [email protected]
Mr. Nick Guillen NMPRC Records Management Bureau [email protected]
Or, you can call them at 1-888-427-5772. Please be sure to mention Case No. 11-00218-UT.
Thank you for your interest in this.
Special Thanks to Kate Theisen at Sunspot Solar for providing the information.
Monday, April 09, 2012
4/11 in abq and 4/12 in sf: PRC Forums: Know Your Candidates! Public Regulation Commission Forums in Santa Fe, Albuquerque
PRC Forum Sponsors:
Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund, League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County (District 3 forum), New Energy Economy, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club.
What: PRC Candidate Forum, District 1 (Albuquerque area)
When: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 11
Where: UNM Continuing Education Center, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque
What: PRC Candidate Forum, District 3 (Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Taos, Española, Rio Rancho, Placitas)
When: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12
Where: Santa Fe Woman's Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe
Decisions made by the Public Regulation Commission touch the lives of every New Mexican in important ways. If you use electricity, natural gas, or a land-line telephone, purchase insurance, ride in shuttles or taxis, or your car is involuntarily towed, you use a service that is regulated by the Commission.
In 2012, two PRC seats are up for election, from the 1st and 3rd districts. The 1st District includes most of Albuquerque. The 3rd District includes Santa Fe, Española, Taos, Rio Rancho and parts of northwest Albuquerque. All candidates have been invited to attend the forum in their district.
“Clean-energy advocates are interested in hosting a forum that educates the community about the position of the PRC candidates so voters can be informed when they cast their vote,” said David Van Winkle, Energy Chair of the Rio Grande Chapter, Sierra Club. “We see the need to take decisive action to transition from coal to clean energy.”
Though many of the groups hosting the candidate forum are specifically interested in clean energy and the resulting benefits, the forum will address a host of PRC duties that impact citizens, including insurance rates and consumer protection in New Mexico, corporate registration, regulation of buses, shuttles, taxis, limousine companies, moving companies, ambulances and tow trucks, and more.
“The main point for New Energy Economy is that the agency be held accountable to its name: public regulation,” said Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy. “Thus far, coal companies have retained the lion's share of the energy market and put our life, water, and air in jeopardy. Frankly, the Commission has failed in its mission to regulate on behalf of the public and thus has caused New Mexicans to bear the economic and moral burden of sickness and environmental destruction, and forestall an opportunity to stimulate our clean energy economy.”
The League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County is co-sponsoring the forum in Santa Fe.
Attendees can ask questions, hear candidate responses, and prepare to cast an informed vote on Election Day. The Albuquerque forum will be moderated by KNME's Gene Grant, and the Santa Fe forum will be moderated by KSFR's Bill Dupuy.
Monday, February 06, 2012
Senator Tim Z. Jennings Rises on Senate Floor to Support PRC Appointee
Senator Tim Z. Jennings rises to a point of personal privilege on the Senate floor today. Senator Jennings wanted to comment on Governor Martinez's most recent appointment to the PRC. Gov. Martinez appointed Doug Howe an openly gay man to serve on the Public Regulation Commission. Sen. jennings said that it is time we put the matter of sexual preferences aside. The government has no business in any persons bedroom. The matter of sexual orientation should never be brought up about anyone. "Our Country is a Country of freedoms." said Jennings.
Sen. Jennings stressed the need for talented, smart, thoughtful people to be within government positions, including at this point within the troubled PRC. "Let the man do his business, he is very qualified." Jennings stated "What matters is what is the best for the State of New Mexico."
Recently, NMPolitics.net posted a story regarding Martinez and the appointment of Howe and the holy man Pastor Steve Smothermon of the Legacy Church in Abq. Smothermon was openly expressing his disgust at Gov. Martinez. Why is the pastor disgusted? Because Martinez had the audacity to appoint a gay man to the PRC.
Full of love for his flock, as long as you are not LGBT. The Legacy Church has over 20,000 New Mexicans who attend this church. Please note that Smothermon is no stranger to controversy, in fact he may thrive in it. The Albuquerque Journal published a piece about Smothermon on Dec. 4, 2011, called Pulpit and Politics. A quote from that article; Smothermon preaching from the pulpit, “Whoever said the church shouldn’t be involved in the political things of our day? That’s the question. Let me give you the answer. … God’s word never said that.”
Smothermon clearly answers to a higher authority. His interpretation of the higher authority is very restrictive regarding the LGBTQ community and what jobs the LGBTQ community can have. I suggest Pastor Smothermon watch the movie "The Help", those racist, bigots in that movie owning slaves also thought they were justified for such inhuman behavior towards another human.
Jennings continued, "How we have to work to get along and that devisive comments do not advance the needs of the state." Jennings congratulated the Governor for her choice of Howe. Perhaps Howe can get the PRC going on the right path again.
Mr. Smothermon please listen; all the LGBTQ community wants to do is live, work for an honest living, feed our families, pay our taxes. Contribute to society with our God given talents. Isn't there enough hate in the world?
Best of luck and skill to Mr. Howe. And thank you Sen. Jennings for speaking out on the floor against bigotry.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
PRC Commissioner Jason Marks to Speak at Upcoming National Energy Events
This month, Jason Marks, District 1 Commissioner for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), is taking New Mexico’s progress in energy development to the national stage as an invited speaker at several energy events around the United States.
His first engagement -– the Solar Power International convention and exhibition in Dallas, Texas -– will feature Marks talking to engineering firms and utility companies about the Southwest’s maturing solar markets. Next, Marks travels to Chicago to speak to utility executives from around the country about regulatory issues at an Electric Utility Consultants, Inc. conference titled, “Electricity Pricing: The Impact of Regulation, Renewable, Distributed Resources and Enabling Infrastructure.”
On October 27, Marks serves as a panelist at a joint meeting of the Committee on Regional Electric Power Cooperation and the State Provincial Steering Committee on the Federal Energy Regulation Commission Order 1000, which lays out new requirements for regional transmission planning and cost allocation. FERC Commissioner -- John Norris -– will speak at the same meeting.
During his time on the PRC, Marks has become a sought-after speaker on energy policy and regulation in the US. The Commissioner’s involvement in regional and national efforts on regulatory issues and renewable energy has benefits for New Mexico and businesses interested in coming to our state for energy development projects. Commissioner Marks’ travel expenses are generally paid by conference organizers or grants, and he is known for having a very modest state funds travel budget.
Since being elected to the PRC in 2004, Marks has helped pass renewable energy rules to create targets in New Mexico for solar energy and distributed generation. He has also been an advocate for addressing climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Marks is an elected member of the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) governing board and the Scenario Planning Steering Group for the Western Electric Coordinating Council (WECC). Marks also serves on the DOE-sponsored State and Provincial Steering Committee for Western Transmission Planning, the Advisory Committee for New Mexico State University’s Center for Public Utilities, and the State of New Mexico Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. He has also chaired reliability compliance hearing panels for WECC.
Photo by M.E. Broderick.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
8/28: NM PRC Commissioner Jason Marks to Speak at NM Solar Fiesta
On Saturday and Sunday, August 27 - 28, New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks (District 1) will participate in the New Mexico Solar Energy Association’s Solar Fiesta, which will be held at Albuquerque Academy this year. This will be Commissioner Marks’ third year presenting at the Solar Fiesta.
Commissioner Marks, a popular speaker at this annual event, will speak on August 28th on “Solving our Energy Challenges in a Toxic Political Environment,” and later that day will join a panel of experts on “The Future of Rooftop Solar.”
The PRC will also host a booth to provide information to the general public about Commission activities and utility programs.
“NMSEA’s Solar Fiesta is a terrific event for both people familiar with the solar industry as well as for those who want to get acquainted with it,” Marks said. “People should understand what our current and future options are in the solar energy area, and how it will affect them in terms of their utility bills and the availability of power.”
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Democrat Brad Gallegos Announces Candidacy for PRC District 3
Democrat Brad Gallegos has released the following statement announcing his candidacy for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) in District 3 in northern New Mexico:
"Brad Gallegos has been helping Northern New Mexico citizens with their dreams of home ownership for years. Brad’s New Mexico roots, strong business background, understanding of regulation and compliance, on the state and federal level, make him the best candidate for PRC Commissioner. Mr. Gallegos is licensed with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS); member of the Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Committee Member for the Annual American Cancer Society Gala in Santa Fe; member of the Democratic Women of New Mexico and Precinct 45 Vice-Chair Santa Fe County Democrats.
"It is understood that the small communities within District III need qualified representation with the best interest of the locals at heart. The Brad Gallegos campaign wants to communicate that he understands the current and tough economic times facing many families as he and his have family have also been affected. With that personal experience, he will bring a strong work ethic and commitment to the commission.
"As a small business owner/manager, Brad Gallegos believes that “big business” continues to make a huge profit off the backs of the citizens of this state and because of that, he will fight for consumer representation and protection. He believes, as a Public Regulation Commissioner, he will be in the best place to serve and advocate for the citizens of New Mexico.
“I was born and raised in New Mexico with family from all corners of the state," Brad said. "Growing up in the towns of Logan, Las Cruces and Santa Fe, I understand first hand the rural and urban needs of the working class families. New Mexico’s diversity creates different needs and I am up to the challenge.”
"Brad, a resident of Santa Fe, has been married to Debbie A. Gallegos for 13 years and the proud father three children: Flora, Gabriella and Juliana. His parents are Louis and Bea Gallegos.
"Brad Gallegos is the best qualified candidate for the job of Public Regulation Commissioner, District 3."
Contact Info for the campaign:
1301 Saint Francis Drive Ste. A
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Note: According to the AP, NM House Speaker Ben Lujan today sent a letter to House Democratic and Republican leaders outlining plans to form a subcommittee during next month's special legislative session to investigate allegations against Jerome Block Jr., a Democrat who currently represents District 3 on the PRC, and recommend whether the full House should consider impeachment. If Block resigns or is impeached, Republican Governor Susana Martinez will appoint a replacement to serve in District 3 until the 2012 election.
So far, four other candidates have indicated their interest in running for the District 3 seat in the Democratic primary --Danny Maki of Santa Fe, a former aid to Congressman Ben Ray Lujan both in-state and in Washington DC, Santa Fe County Clerk Valerie Espinoza, Democratic Party activist Martin Suazo of Las Vegas NM and Santa Fe County Commissioner Virginia Vigil. Rick Lass may be another possibility. He ran as a Green Party candidate against Block Jr. in 2008, but is now a registered Democrat. Lass hasn't yet made a decision on the 2012 race.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Democrat Danny Maki Announces Candidacy for District 3 PRC Seat
On Saturday, August 20th, Democrat Danny Maki announced his campaign for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in District 3, in northern New Mexico. Maki held three announcement events on Saturday within District 3 -- at the Cowboy Kitchen in Mora, at the Elks Lodge in Santa Fe and at the home of Roy Soto and Rita Longino in Corrales.
“I was raised to fight for what you believe in and stand up for what’s right. The rate increases for utilities and insurance mean we’ll be paying more at a time when we have a lot less in our pockets," Maki said in a statement released by his campaign. "That’s wrong and somebody has to stand up and be the voice for the people of New Mexico. The opportunity to put the public back in the Public Regulation Commission motivated me to for run for the Public Regulation Commission seat in District 3."
That seat is currently held by Democrat Jerome Block Jr., who has been under pressure to resign due to allegations of impropriety. Block has so far indicated he does not intend to resign his office. The Democratic primary is set for June 5, 2012. If Block resigns or is impeached, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez would appoint someone serve in his seat for the rest of his term.
A press release from his campaign said that Maki grew up in Santa Fe and is a lifelong working class Democrat. He began volunteering for Democratic campaigns since before he could drive or vote, served for three years as the Director of Boards and Commissions for the State of New Mexico and worked for Congressman Ben Ray Lujan both in-state and in Washington, D.C. He also worked as a baggage handler, and then ran his family’s small sporting goods business. Maki said he will work on issues important to the people of the district and the state like job creation, accountable government and consumer protection.
“New Mexico has a once in a lifetime opportunity to create renewable energy that can drive the state and national economy. I’ll use my experience to help the Commission bring together our elected officials in Santa Fe and Washington to upgrade our transmission line infrastructure, diversify our energy portfolio and incentivize local energy companies to develop wind, solar, and geo-thermal energy resources. If we act now we can create at least 20,000, recession proof long-term jobs for New Mexicans. New Mexico must not lose this opportunity,” said Maki. “That’s the kind of vision, leadership and results I’ll bring to the Public Regulation Commission.”
Maki recently left the office of Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and is currently the Director of Development at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe. You can read more about Maki's experience and background on his campaign website.
"I know the District--I know the issues--I'm ready for the challenge," Maki said. "Let's put the public back in the Public Regulation Commission!"
Danny Maki is the son of Walter "Butch" Maki, a registered lobbyist and long-time former aide to ex-Gov. Bill Richardson.
So far, four other candidates have indicated their interest in running for the District 3 seat in the Democratic primary -- Santa Fe County Clerk Valerie Espinoza, Democratic Party activist Martin Suazo of Las Vegas NM, Santa Fe mortgage banker Brad Gallegos and Santa Fe County Commissioner Virginia Vigil. Rick Lass may be another possibility. He ran as a Green Party candidate against Block Jr. in 2008, but is now a registered Democrat. Lass hasn't yet made a decision on the 2012 race.
No Republican candidates for the post have yet emerged. About 57% of the registered voters in District 3 are Democrats, while only 26% are Republicans and 17% are independent or belong to other parties.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Center for Civic Policy Airing Ad Opposing PNM Electric Rate Hike
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) will rule as early as this month on PNM’s latest request to increase electric rates. Starting today, the Center for Civic Policy is running a radio ad advocating against the rate hike and encouraging consumers to contact the PRC to urge them to reject another raise in the price of electric service in the state. Click to listen to the ad:
Your Money or Your Lights (mp3).
“The purpose of the radio spot is to educate PNM ratepayers across the state. Consumers have a right to know about the company’s proposal for another rate increase,” said Stephanie Maez-Gibson, Center for Civic Policy's communications director.
“Ratepayers are entitled to the facts. Fact, this is would be the third rate hike in three years. Fact, last year PNM’s Chairman and top four executives pocketed $5 million in bonuses and compensation alone. Fact, this rate case is costing consumers $3.7 million – yes, PNM is spending our money to raise our rates,” said Maez-Gibson.
“Bottom line –- consumers have a voice through their representatives on the Public Regulation Commission. We can collectively encourage the commission to insist that PNM begin managing its money more effectively to prevent this and future unfair rate hikes.”
Prosperity Works, an intervenor in the rate case, weighed in on the ad sponsored by CCC. “In New Mexico, residents have no choice in their electric provider. There is no competition to keep prices down, no incentive for utilities to watch expenses and stay competitive. All we have to ensure fair and reasonable rates is the Public Regulation Commission,” said Camela Starce, Prosperity Works lead counsel.
“It's up to the residents to let their elected Commissioners know that PNM does not deserve another 21.5% in revenue increases, which is what the Hearing Examiner estimates PNM will get if the rate hike is approved. In this case, it is the rate payers who need relief, not the utility company,” added Starce
PNM is asking for an $85 million hike in revenues from customers, which the utility claims is needed to pay for its rising costs, capital spending and shareholder payouts. PNM Is also requesting about $60 million in additional increases for certain riders and capital projects over the next two years. Since 2008 the public utility has benefited from a 21% increase in billed costs to its electric consumers.
On June 22, PRC hearing examiner Carolyn Glick recommended approval of an agreement that PNM claims would increase electricity base rates by 10.8 percent or $85 million. However, she also suggested eliminating a one-time $20 million additional charge requested by PNM for capital projects, and proposed a different residential rate design structure that would affect customers differently depending on their usage.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Media Literacy Project Opposes AT&T and T-Mobile Merger
The Media Literacy Project (MLP) has released a statement publicly communicating its opposition to the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. If the FCC and Department of Justice approve this merger, it would eliminate jobs, increase prices and threaten consumer choice, according the the MLP.
The Media Literacy Project joins a national debate on the detrimental impacts of the merger on jobs, innovation and consumer choice. The news has already generated a wave of public comments, with the Federal Communications Commission opposing the merger. As public comment on the merger closed on Wednesday, the Media Literacy Project released its statement against the merger.
Andrea Quijada, the Executive Director of Media Literacy Project, issued the following comments:
“If the FCC and Department of Justice approve the merger, AT&T and Verizon will control 80 percent of the market. New Mexicans will be in a dire communications circumstance where they have no real choice in their cell phone providers and little recourse to hold their providers accountable for anti-consumer behavior. We know that many New Mexicans depend on their mobile devices to apply for jobs, access health information and stay connected to their families. But because the wireless market is unregulated, many New Mexicans will be vulnerable to slowed or blocked content and unexpected fees.”
“We know from AT&T’s past that they have no hesitation in cutting jobs to pad their bottom line. Currently, T-Mobile employs 1,700 New Mexicans at its two Albuquerque call centers. Already New Mexico faces a 19 percent poverty level and cutting more jobs will leave many more families scrambling to make ends meet. New Mexico is already buckling under the economic crisis and we can’t afford another blow to jobs.”
“Poverty rates are statistically higher in rural communities than in urban communities. This puts New Mexican families at a disadvantage when prices for data and voice plans from national carriers typically remain the same whether the consumer lives in a metropolitan or rural area. If prices increase, it will definitely be difficult for many families nationwide to be able to afford their voice and data plans. But it will be especially difficult on many New Mexican families. We can’t let AT&T and T-Mobile increase prices that will leave New Mexico hit the hardest.”
“It’s clear that AT&T already doesn’t invest enough in its rural broadband network. The call quality and reliability of its network is low. Instead of purchasing T-Mobile’s licenses for $39 billion, AT&T should divert these funds toward updating and improving its existing rural area network infrastructure. They don’t need to buy T-Mobile to better serve rural New Mexico.”
Media Literacy Project is a non-profit organization that advances education and advocacy for media justice.
Note: For additional perspectives on the proposed merger, see our previous posts relating the views of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's Jason Marks (which has accumulated a significant number of new comments on the thread), as well as a guest blog on the subject by Glenda Winternheimer of the Communication Workers of America.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Guest Blog: CWA to PRC Jason Marks--Support AT&T/T-Mobile Merger
This is a guest blog by Glenda Winternheimer, Vice President of Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 7011. It's written in response to the position taken by Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks on the issue of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Commissioner Jason Marks is off base regarding his comments concerning the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Anytime there is a merger or acquisition of two companies, there is a fear that prices will increase and consumers will suffer. Research of the wireless industry as it pertains to M&A activity over the last decade show that when wireless companies combine, such as Sprint and Nextel, Cingular and AT&T Wireless, and Verizon and Alltel, the sky did not fall. Wireless prices actually declined fifty percent during that period of time. T-Mobile wants to get out of the US Market and if the sale does not go through to AT&T then the next bidder is Sprint.
While Commissioner Marks claims that rural states such as ours may be negatively impacted by this merger, the fact is that AT&T has committed to expand 4G LTE wireless broadband coverage to over 97% of the U.S. population. That means that rural New Mexico residents will now have access to high-speed internet. Access to broadband is becoming a necessity in this day and age, especially in rural areas.
Communications Workers of America-New Mexico agrees, pointing out that AT&T has also committed to investing an additional $8 billion in their network, and, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, this will create as many as 96,000 NEW, quality jobs. To address the obvious question, YES, the labor movement has a horse in this race. Should the merger go through, tens of thousands of T-mobile employees could be able to negotiate for a union contract and advocate collectively for their wages and working conditions.
Adding up the results of the merger: more residents in metro and rural areas with access to 4G wireless coverage, additional investment in our state, additional jobs, and additional wireless high-speed internet access. Sounds like something our PRC should get behind, including Commissioner Marks.
This is a guest blog by Glenda Winternheimer. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
PRC Commissioner Jason Marks Urges FCC to Stop Proposed Merger of AT&T and T-Mobile
Bravo: On June 8, 2011, Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks electronically filed this letter with the FCC urging it to refused to allow the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile "as it will have a detrimental impact on national and local markets for wireless services and is therefore not in the public interest." As Commissioner Marks explains in this excerpt:
Consolidation in the wireless industry from the "wild west" era of the 1990s was both inevitable and necessary to create national footprints and the platforms needed to roll-out the latest innovations. But now we have come to a bridge too far. After the Verizon-Alltel merger, there are four national wireless carriers remaining. If you approve the merger between AT&T and T-mobile that will leave only three - the magical, dysfunctional number of players in the cable/satellite TV arena in most markets.
Moreover, there's a strong possibility that the market will not remain at three national carriers after this merger due to the relative sizes and other characteristics of the surving companies. In approving this merger, the FCC may very likely be blessing a terminal state of duopoly.
The potential detrimental effects of the merger may be exacerbated in largely rural states like New Mexico.