Working to boost energy savings

By Mona Blaber, communications coordinator

As renewable energy’s less-glamorous partner in saving the Earth, energy efficiency doesn't get much attention, but the easiest and cheapest way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels had an eventful year in New Mexico.

In 2013, the state Legislature changed the way utilities fund their efficiency efforts required by the Energy Efficiency Act.
Now the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission is considering a new rule to implement those changes and other aspects of the law.

Some of the rule language suggested by PRC staff would allow utilities to spend less than the legally required 3 percent of revenues on efficiency efforts. The Rio Grande Chapter and allies have asked for language that reflects the legal funding level.
Funding and other aspects of the proposed rule may be decided in mediation. The Rio Grande Chapter will continue to advocate for a robust enforcement of New Mexico law, which requires 5 percent energy savings by 2014.

The Sierra Club and allies also continue to challenge the state Construction Industries Commission’s 2011 decision to ditch money-saving efficiency rules for buildings. The state Supreme Court in April ordered the commission to reinstate the stronger rules because it gave no justification for eliminating them. However, the commission is simply ignoring the court’s order.

New Mexico Environmental Center is representing the chapter and several allied groups to enforce the court’s order.