What to make of the proposed purchase of PNM by Avangrid? As has been well-documented, the Rio Grande Foundation remains steadfastly opposed to the Energy Transition Act and the headlong effort to make New Mexico’s electricity generation system “zero carbon.”
Sherman McCorkle, a prominent voice in the local business community recently penned an article for the Albuquerque Journal in which he made the case that Avangrid’s purchase of PNM could be a boon for the local and state economies. Of course others, mostly hailing from Maine, have a much dimmer view of Avangrid and its likely impact on New Mexico. A state rep. from Maine is one of many who decried Avangrid’s customer service and cited billing problems as reasons to oppose the merger.
It’s hard to say what Avangrid’s customer service will be like and we certainly hope that problems in Maine will not happen here. Overall, we’re not at all convinced that replacing PNM is (a heavily-regulated utility) with another owner will do much for the local/state economy. PNM is the closest thing the private sector has to being a government utility. The best we can expect is for them to keep the lights on at a reasonable price.
And whether it is Avangrid or PNM, we have serious concerns about ANY utility’s ability to shift to zero-carbon at a reasonable cost to consumers while also keeping electricity reliability high. There are pluses and minuses to the merger, but at this point RGF isn’t jumping into the fray on either side.