The global supply chain crisis and potentially erratic weather could paralyze New Mexico electric companies’ ability to serve customers this year, the Public Regulation Commission warned Wednesday.
A commission discussion of how Public Service Company of New Mexico might replace resources when the San Juan Generating Station closes in the summer bled into general discussion of all of the state’s electric utilities’ challenges in 2022.
Commissioners said they worried about PNM’s ability to take care of customers after San Juan closes in June in Northwest New Mexico. The expectation of other companies providing solar replacement energy has been thrown into disarray by assertions they can’t get equipment in time to build and start up facilities by June.
It’s not just PNM that is being affected. Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative, for instance, told the commission through a statement it’s having so much trouble getting transformers that the company is “near the point of denying electric service.”
“I think this is cause for concern,” Commission Chairman Joe Maestas of Santa Fe said. “It just seems that this is going to persist all the way through this calendar year.”
PNM said in a document filed late last month, at least three of four solar energy projects that were supposed to fill the gap when San Juan closes are well behind schedule because of a supply chain problem.
Commissioner Cynthia Hall of Albuquerque said there’s more to worry about.
“We might have adverse weather in the winter that we have in front of us,” she said.
Hall and other commissioners said they need to advise state and federal representatives of a potential crisis. Hall said they must “spread the responsibility” to make sure “adequate resources are made available to the extent that can be done by all levels of government.”
Commissioner Stephen Fischmann of Las Cruces said the commission needs more information from PNM about a potential electricity shortfall in the summer.
He said the commission needs to know about the potential for rolling electricity blackouts, prioritization of electricity for critical entities and how PNM plans to communicate with customers about the challenges ahead.
“And June is not very far away,” Fischmann said.
The commission formally agreed to have Fischmann send a list of questions to PNM to address the status of the San Juan situation.