New Mexico customers are sounding the alarm over a proposed multibillion-dollar merger of the state’s largest electric utility provider with a U.S. subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, citing a sordid track record of reliability and customer service.
They voiced their concerns during a virtual hearing Monday as state regulators prepare to hear from attorneys and experts representing Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Connecticut-based Avangrid and other groups that have intervened in a case that has the potential to change the way electricity is generated and distributed in the state.
The companies have been running television, radio and newspaper ads in an effort to win more support.
Some politicians, environmental groups and labor union bosses have signed on, but others say regulators need to consider Avangrid and Iberdrola’s histories when it comes to providing reliable service in other states and parts of Latin America where they operate.
Critics also pointed to Avangrid’s efforts to rollback provisions of a rooftop solar program in Maine.
“We feel past performance is a better indicator of future performance than ads and promises,” said Paul Gibson, co-founder of the statewide advocacy group Retake Our Democracy.
Gibson and others listed poor rankings for Avangrid’s utility in Maine and noted that the company has been hit with millions of dollars in penalties and regulatory enforcement actions.
Even a member of Maine’s legislature has warned New Mexico regulators about approving the merger.
[Susan Montoya Bryan]