January 11, 2023

PRC briefly discusses tribal advisory council during first meeting as an appointed body

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission met for the first time since becoming an appointed body on Wednesday.

The meeting went fairly quick, with the three commissioners introducing themselves and giving brief statements.

Only two of the three commissioners have been sworn in and were present in the building at the time. The third commissioner was appointed on Tuesday and attended via Zoom.

“I’m excited to learn from the staff at the PRC and to learn from you in your formal pleadings and aim to do this job with integrity,” Commissioner Gabriel Aguilera said. “And I hope to make decisions that are in the public interest.”

Commissioner Patrick O’Connell said he is excited to have the opportunity to serve the state of New Mexico. He spoke about the areas that the PRC regulates, including electric utilities.

“The work that we do here at the PRC is crucial to making sure that those fundamentally important things happen to you in a way that all of us can afford it, and it’s there when we need it,” he said.

Commission appointee James Ellison, who had not yet been sworn in, said that New Mexico is at a critical juncture and the PRC is tasked with overseeing the transition to renewable energy.

Among the topics that the commissioners discussed was the new Tribal Advisory Council that will be created following an executive order by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The application window for the tribal advisory council opened this week and people interested in applying can submit their applications here by Jan. 23.

O’Connell said New Mexico has the opportunity to set a national model in terms of Tribal consultation.

“That is what I would love for us to strive for,” he said.

He suggested creating a point of contact to interface with the governor’s office during this process.

While Aguilera supported that suggestion, the commissioners did not act on it this week. Aguilera said he preferred waiting a week so that “we can consider all of our expertise and just make sure that we are picking the right liaison.”