PRC convenes to discuss major upcoming energy concerns for New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There are some major energy concerns on the horizon. People may notice some changes during the peak energy consumption season – as soon as this summer.
Could we be approaching an energy crisis? The Public Regulation Commission says they are, "trying to be proactive."
The energy picture in New Mexico has changed a lot, mostly due to pandemic-related consequences.
In Wednesday’s meeting, they discussed the recent increase in the number of access lines in rural areas – a result of more people working from home. Now how supply chain issues are threatening short-term energy needs.
"This is going to be a challenge going forward, lacking transformers and other badly needed equipment. They may not be in a position to offer new service – so I think the situation is quite dire."
It is likely the public will be asked to keep the lights low and prices will increase.
"Work with consumers to make, to – you know – be sure that consumption patterns don’t put us in a rolling blackout situation."
The long-term plan is to continue to wind down operations at the San Juan coal plant, as the state moves toward cleaner energy.
"As I recall, we were assured that any additional power would be purchased on the open market. But, PNM was reluctant to have any discussion on that for fear of falling prey to price gouging on the open market."
But, with the shifting landscape – and other states facing the same challenges – creative solutions may be needed, soon.
"If the Energy Transition Act, this landmark piece of legislation is perhaps contributing to this situation, then perhaps it needs to be revisited."
There was some talk about the future of solar powering neighborhoods, but it will only benefit new neighborhoods at first – as costs remain high to retrofit older developments.
The PRC hosts public virtual meetings every Wednesday.