Article appeared in the New Mexican, March 25, 2000.

Double Standard

Dear Editor:

PNM's recent attempt to blame environmentalists for the recent
state-wide power failure is non-sensical at best, and at worst, reveals their mastery of the art of the double standard.

For example: In the net metering rule recently enacted by the
Public Regulation Commission , the connecting utility requires that anyone who intends to install a small (10kW) solar electric home generating system must "bear the proportionate cost of any loss, damage, expense and liability attributable to that party's negligence." 


Such language clearly mandates that the small electricity generator is fully liable for any losses the utility might incur, yet when PNM's generation system tanked, PNM officials quickly shifted the liability to enviros for preventing PNM from building more power lines.


 Excuse me, the enviros, for decades, have been badgering PNM to pursue energy efficiency, cogeneration and diversification of its energy generation sources. More recently, the enviros have advocated locally-sited microturbines and fuel cells which render long-distance transmission lines unnecessary.


PNM's continued reliance on obsolete coal and nuclear power plants located at great distances from load centers (where the power is used) require long, unsightly and vulnerable transmission lines. Worse, only 25% of the energy in the fuel ever reaches the customer due to thermal and transmission losses. Locally sited generation, e.g. microturbines and residential fuel cells, can deliver energy with 80% efficiency and require no long-distance transmission lines.

PNM's steadfast refusal to embrace energy conservation,
cogeneration and locally-sited clean power generation is at fault here, not the environmentalists. 


Charles Bensinger


New World Energy Systems

Santa Fe


The following part was deleted by the New Mexican:

Unfortunately, last week, it was local businesses who were forced to take the hit for PNM's system failure. Using PNM standards of accountability for small electric generators, PNM should fully reimburse all those business who lost money during the recent power outage. PNM's denial of responsibility reeks of blatant blame-shifting and can only be interpreted as a gross failure of corporate integrity and an attempt to cover up their own inability to prudently plan a more diverse and flexible energy system.