Residents raise concerns over proposed PNM substation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Some residents in Albuquerque are trying to stop a proposed PNM substation from being built in their neighborhood. PNM, however, said it’s necessary.

"It is all I will see in the mornings. It’s where my kids play, it’s where my kids walk to the school bus, it’s where we get up and walk as a family," said Kathy Robertson, a North Albuquerque Acres resident.

Robertson is worried about PNM’s plans to build a substation on a plot of land in the North Albuquerque Acres neighborhood near Paseo del Norte and Browning Street. She said the site is directly in front of her windows—about 120 feet away.

According to PNM, almost two-thirds of their substations are within 100 feet of a residential neighborhood.

"We’re standing up for the community," Robertson said.

Residents said the site isn’t zoned for PNM to build a substation, but the company recently filed an appeal with Bernalillo County to change that. The county commission is expected to take up the appeal in a meeting Tuesday.

"We’re here to show the county commission that the people of this neighborhood and the people in any residential neighborhood in North Albuquerque Acres doesn’t want an electrical substation," said Robert Dale Morrison, a resident. "This facility is going to be primarily for the benefit of the city for Sandia Pueblo and Sandoval County. Very little electricity from this substation will be used in this area."

In a statement, PNM said there’s a risk of an extended power outage in the area, and that it needs to build the substation to meet current and future demands. It also said "these current facilities are increasingly at risk for a catastrophic power failure, which will not only affect the majority of the Northeast Heights, but also the entire electric grid."