I’ve been following the proposed Public Service Company of New Mexico/Avangrid merger with interest, along with many people in New Mexico. My interest in the merger is for the organizations we serve. My question is this: Will Avangrid follow PNM and PNM Foundation’s generous culture of giving and participation in the communities they serve?

The Albuquerque Community Foundation is 40 years old this year. And since we opened our doors, PNM and its foundation have participated both financially and by having top executives serve on our board of directors. They are one of the most generous organizations, and they walk their talk. They give to countless nonprofit organizations not only in Albuquerque, but throughout the state. The nonprofit sector providing critical services to countless New Mexicans would be more challenged than ever to do so if it weren’t for the constant support of good corporate citizen PNM and the PNM Foundation.

When disaster or crisis hits — the pandemic, severe weather that causes outages, fires — PNM is undoubtedly one of the first organizations to step up and encourage other organizations to follow suit. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they provided emergency financial assistance to help non-profits keep their doors open and provide critically needed services.

PNM has set up is the Employee Crisis Fund specifically to support employees and their families through life-threatening medical conditions and the tragedy of death. The Albuquerque Community Foundation is honored to be PNM’s partner in holding and managing that fund.

Last and certainly not least, PNM has provided support for New Mexicans struggling to pay their electric bills.

In studying Avangrid online, I’m thrilled to see they’ve committed to giving at the same level that PNM has for all these years. Their corporate donation to other communities where Avangrid is located is equally stellar.

Last year, Avangrid through its foundation gave $4.227 million to various organizations, including nonprofits that provide education, training and research; biodiversity and the environment; arts and culture; and community partnerships and social action. Avangrid’s parent company Iberdrola also gives generously and has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethispere.

Again, reading all that will come to New Mexicans through Avangrid, I’m humbled by the benefits on the table, especially the ones for rural areas of the state, including:

u Avangrid affiliates will work with the Navajo Nation toward the development on Navajo Nation Land, within two years of closing, of one or more renewable energy and/or energy storage projects of no less than 200 MW.

u $12.5 million ($2.5 million/year for five years) will be used for the benefit of impacted indigenous community groups in the Four Corners region;

u $50 million in rate credits to PNM’s customers over a three-year period after closing;

u $6 million for residential customer arrearages forgiveness within 90 days of closing;

u $2 million for providing electricity to new customers in remote areas; and

u $15 million for low-income energy efficiency.

u 150 new full time jobs will be created in New Mexico.

Whenever a new player comes to town, it makes sense to look skeptically at them. But after analysis and history as my guide, I believe Avangrid will be an excellent corporate citizen. I look forward the great things it will bring to our state.

Randy Royster is the president and CEO of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.

(1) comment

Stan Biderman

I don't understand why a monopoly is congratulated for taking our money and giving it away.

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