PRC opens inquiry into utility vegetation management practices

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved an order to open an inquiry into the practices of utilities when it comes to the vegetiative management. The order issued Wednesday requires investor-owned electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives to provide the regulatory body with copies of their current practices and plans for managing vegetation as […]

PRC opens inquiry into utility vegetation management practices

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved an order to open an inquiry into the practices of utilities when it comes to the vegetiative management.

The order issued Wednesday requires investor-owned electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives to provide the regulatory body with copies of their current practices and plans for managing vegetation as well as any other policies they might have to address wildfire risks.

This comes as utilities have been under increased scrutiny following major fires that have occurred in the western United States that were caused by electric infrastructure.

In New Mexico, the McBride Fire that killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes and properties near Ruidoso likely started after high winds caused a tree to fall onto power lines owned by the Public Service Company of New Mexico.

In other parts of the west, the deadly Camp Fire that burned through the town of Paradise, California, in 2018 was caused by electric utility infrastructure.

The PRC order comes following discussions the commission had last week upon the request of Commissioner Cynthia Hall, who said it would help provide a better picture for what the current practices are. 

“I just think it’s prudent for us under these harsh wind and drought conditions where there’s so much enhanced risk of fire that we at least have a look at what these plans involve and possibly have workshops,” Hall said during the meeting last week.

She said while fire season has already started, it is still in its early stages.

While looking into the current practices, the regulators could also consider if they are the best practices or if changes are needed to better prevent wildfires. 

“My concern is that if we do nothing and we have some fires that are started by utilities, we may be remiss in not having examined their practices,” she further said during the meeting last week.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Politics Newsletter: Special legislative session for gun bills?

Politics Newsletter: Special legislative session for gun bills?

Hello fellow political junkies! The 2024 legislative session is over with the possibility for a special session for firearm-related legislation. In English: Gov. Michelle…
Questions remain about governor’s strategic water supply proposal

Questions remain about governor’s strategic water supply proposal

The proposed strategic water supply had a rocky road this legislative session that ultimately resulted in it not making it through even one chamber.…
Bill to end detention of immigrants in New Mexico fails soon after new report on poor conditions

Bill to end detention of immigrants in New Mexico fails soon after new report on poor conditions

A bill to prohibit immigration detention in New Mexico failed a few weeks after an organization issued a report regarding the conditions for a…
Bipartisan legislation aims to curb sales of public lands

Bipartisan legislation aims to curb sales of public lands

U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, a New Mexico Democrat, is teaming up with the former secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and current…
Arizona regulators reject proposal to assist Navajo communities impacted by coal-fired power generation

Arizona regulators reject proposal to assist Navajo communities impacted by coal-fired power generation

Utility regulators in Arizona rejected proposals from an Arizona utility to provide assistance to coal-impacted communities, including in Navajo communities in northwest New Mexico.…
Utility regulators approves PNM’s transportation electrification program

Utility regulators approves PNM’s transportation electrification program

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission unanimously approved a plan from the state’s largest utilities for increasing adoption of electric vehicles this week. The…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

Supreme Court censures attorney over conduct in anti-COVID policy suits

The New Mexico State Supreme Court censured a New Mexico attorney because of her “misconduct” in two unsuccessful cases pushing back on COVID-19 regulations…
Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

Guv outlines some health priorities on state spending

During her state of the state address on Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham told legislators that one of her legislative priorities is a request…
Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

Referendum on Edgewood’s anti-abortion ordinance moves forward

The town of Edgewood is moving forward with its ballot referendum on its anti-abortion ordinance at a cost of more than $35,000. The town…
2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

2023 Top Stories #1: Anti-abortion efforts go local

Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. Earlier this month, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral…
NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

NM Supreme Court to decide if local anti-abortion ordinances are legal

The New Mexico Supreme Court will decide whether anti-abortion ordinances passed by local governments in eastern New Mexico over the last 13 months can…
HSD taps former Arizona Medicaid official to lead New Mexico’s Medicaid program

HSD taps former Arizona Medicaid official to lead New Mexico’s Medicaid program

A former Arizona Medicaid senior policy advisor and assistant director will head the New Mexico Medicaid program under the state’s Human Services Department. HSD…
AGs want FDA guidance on heavy metals for the baby food industry

AGs want FDA guidance on heavy metals for the baby food industry

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez and a coalition of 19 other attorneys general called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue…
Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

Supporters of Paid Family and Medical Leave say it will return

House Speaker Javier Martinez said that the Paid Family and Medical Leave will return to next year’s legislative session. SB 3, sponsored by state…

Bill to require disclosure of use of AI in campaign materials goes to governor

The Senate approved a bill aiming to require the disclosure of the use of artificial intelligence or other changes made by computers to campaign…
House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

House amends, passes bill banning firearms near polling places

The House narrowly approved a bill that would ban firearms near polling places. The House voted 35-34 to pass the bill following an extensive…
Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Manny Gonzales doesn’t qualify for Senate GOP primary ballot

Nella Domenici is the lone Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, after Manny Gonzales III failed to qualify for the ballot. Gonzales did not file…
How bad is the Western megadrought? Scientists look at tree rings to find context from history

How bad is the Western megadrought? Scientists look at tree rings to find context from history

By Alex Hager, KUNC The current Western megadrought is unlike any other dry period the region has experienced over the past 500 years. That’s…
Another New Mexico legislative session ends, and again — no new oil and gas reforms

Another New Mexico legislative session ends, and again — no new oil and gas reforms

By Jerry Redfern, Capital & Main “It was a very good year!” The message from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association landed in inboxes the…
Politics Newsletter: Special legislative session for gun bills?

Politics Newsletter: Special legislative session for gun bills?

Hello fellow political junkies! The 2024 legislative session is over with the possibility for a special session for firearm-related legislation. In English: Gov. Michelle…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report