The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project has announced that the Public Service Company of New Mexico can invest $10 million in a suite of EV programs with over $3 million focusing on low-income families.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approved plans for the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and El Paso Electric (EPE) to accelerate the deployment of EVs over the next two years. These plans include investing funds to build charging infrastructure at single-family and multi-family homes as well as public spaces. The funds will cover 70 fast chargers in PNM’s area and 16 fast chargers in EPE’s area.
One key focus is to assist with closing the gaps in areas that don’t have any charging stations and to also enable low-income customers to be eligible for incentives that cover the entire cost of installing chargers inside of customers’ homes.
PNM has also committed to investing up to $1.5 million for the installation of the charging infrastructure needed for electric transit and school buses that serve underserved communities. It also plans to invest $1 million into education programs that will teach customers about EVs. Included in this investment is a partnership with community-based organizations that will conduct outreach to low-income customers and moderate-income customers.
EPE plans to invest up to $150,000 in low-income smart charging and over $100,000 into both public transport and customer fleet charging. It also plans to invest $250,000 for educating consumers about EVs, charging infrastructure, and incentives for customers.
The news release didn’t mention where the other investments would go, but hopefully more details will eventually be shared. For now, the only numbers that were mentioned were the above-mentioned planes from PNC and EPE, and these are a great start.
Several representatives from organizations such as Prosperity Works, Earthjustice, and the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy shared comments about the importance of a widespread transition to EVs, the progress New Mexico is planning to make, and the importance of helping the state’s low-income families access EV charging.
Prosperity Works CEO Ona Porter noted that the Commission’s decisions confirmed her belief that including low-income and moderate-income residents was important to reaching adequate carbon reduction.
“We appreciate that today’s Commission decisions strongly affirm our belief that we cannot reach our carbon reduction goals without the inclusion of low-moderate income residents in the deployment of ALL of the new technologies, and equally important, that these populations must be the beneficiaries of the reduced costs and improved health that they offer right alongside of their more affluent neighbors.
“Increasing access to EVs is especially important for low- and moderate-income families because EVs save their owners thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs. For residential customers, the cost of fueling an electric car is roughly equivalent to paying $1 per gallon of gasoline. New Mexico utilities serve low-income, rural areas where the average family currently devotes more than a third of its household income to transportation costs. “
The NM Public Regulation Commission just approved two utility plans to invest in EV infrastructure and education, an important first step for all New Mexicans to access clean vehicles. Proud to represent @ProsperityWork in this important work.https://t.co/XoQoAKHXZe
— Sara Gersen (@sara_gersen) November 12, 2021
Sara Gersen, Senior Attorney for Earthjustice who represented Prosperity Works before the Commission, spoke of the importance of switching from ICEVs to EVs and how they save their owners’ thousands of dollars.
“Ditching a gas guzzler for a clean electric vehicle is a lot easier if you can recharge your car at home, so I’m glad the Public Regulation Commission approved a program that can unlock the financial and health benefits of electric vehicles for more low- and moderate-income families in New Mexico.”
Cara Lynch, an attorney for the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy and Prosperity Works, emphasized the importance of EV charging being accessible to everyone.
“Installing EV charging infrastructure so that average folks can access it is critical to helping our state drive down greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants. These programs are a positive first step to helping New Mexico’s families and low-income customers access EV charging. Overall, this can result in meaningful energy savings for families.”
Aaron Kressig, Transportation Electrification Manager at Western Resource Advocates, pointed out that PRC’s approval indicates how New Mexico is moving toward an all-electric transportation future.
“The New Mexico PRC’s approval is another indicator that the state is making big strides toward an all-electric transportation future. Lack of access to charging infrastructure continues to be one of the biggest barriers to widespread EV adoption, and the PNM and EPE plans will be critical to increasing availability and encouraging more New Mexicans to go electric.
“It is encouraging to see that the Commission approved of plans that were more ambitious than the utilities originally proposed. They clearly responded to input from stakeholders who urged them to go even further and demonstrates that the New Mexico government understands that ambitious plans are necessary to meet the climate and air quality challenges of our time.”
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