Energy Task Force
New Mexico took its first step towards sustained energy assistance for low income New Mexicans. Thanks to a joint legislative memorial spearheaded by Prosperity Works and championed by Representative Gail Chasey and Senator Linda Lopez, a task force will be formed in May 2012 to study ways to provide energy bill assistance to low income customers. Unlike charitable emergency programs like the Good Neighbor Fund or HEAT New Mexico, the Low Income Energy Assistance Task Force is charged with determining a way to provide a continuous monthly discount to qualifying limited income residents. Many states, including Texas, Colorado, Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, California, and North Carolina, have already implemented discount rates for their low-income residents funded by a variety of innovative plans. The creation of the Energy Assistance Task Force was supported not only by consumer advocates like Prosperity Works, but also environmental groups and the states two biggest energy provides, Public Service Company of New Mexico and New Mexico Gas Company. This summer, representatives from all of those organizations will sit down together to come up with strategies and advise the legislative task force on the best of those strategies. A bill based on the best solution for New Mexico will be introduced in the 2013 legislative session, which means monthly rate relief on energy bills may be on the way for thousands of New Mexicans.