Public Regulation Commission
If Jason Marks keeps his job as the Albuquerque area representative for the Public Regulation Commission, he'll continue as a methodical examiner of the state's utilities, telecommunication and insurance industries.
The PRC isn't a flashy agency. It's probably the most powerful commission in the state that people don't know much about. What has greater impact on most Burqueños than PNM's rates? Marks, the commission’s chairman, says he makes sure rates are as low as possible while determining how much the utility company needs to stay afloat. "I'm just there to make sure companies justify every dollar they get from you," Marks says.
In a recent rate case, Marks sifted out expenditures PNM didn't need and lowered the utility's rate increase by $12 million. He also voted against the emergency fuel clause, which would have allowed the company to automatically charge consumers more as its fuel expenses rose. If the commissioner retains his position, he says he'll look at setting limits on the amount of executive compensation costs that can be passed on to bill payers.
Marks didn't run for the PRC as an environmental proponent, but he says the more he's learned, the more alarmed he's become. Our dependence on fossil fuels must wane, he says. It's unwise to be at the bleeding edge of technological advancements regarding alternative energy sources, he adds, because it's hard to tell what the return on investments will be. Still, he says 20 percent of our energy can come from renewables by 2020, and 20 percent of that can come from solar.
Marks is using public financing to fund his campaign, a tactic that ensures he's beholden to no businessperson or special interest.
Marks has worked to hold Qwest accountable for upgrading the city's infrastructure and to make sure telephone bills are understandable. He also says he is the reason Albuquerque remained "the 505" and the rest of the state was forced to change to 575, instead of the other way around.
Marks is using public financing to fund his campaign, a tactic that ensures he's beholden to no businessperson or special interest. He's also tried to make the PRC more accessible, understandable and therefore accountable by improving its website. He'd like to see PRC meetings webcast in the future.
Cummins has little on his website (the only source of information available) about policy. He's mounted an anti-Marks campaign but hasn't given us a single reason to be pro-Cummins.
Marks prioritizes fairness and has accomplished a lot in four years. He's genuinely excited about renewable energy and knows the ins and outs of how New Mexico can use its natural resources.
We're glad he holds the position, and we'd like to give him the opportunity to realize some of his ambitious plans. We're pleased to endorse Jason Marks in this race.
If E. Tim Cummins is elected to the PRC, we probably won’t know what he is up to for the next four years. It strikes us as hypocritical that he writes on his website, "I’m committed to continuing my open-door policy of communication and dialogue with all of New Mexico’s taxpayers, ratepayers and consumers." If that's the case, then why didn't he come in for an interview with the Alibi? And why did fail to appear on "New Mexico In Focus," when the KNME show did its segment on the PRC?
Cummins spent four years on Albuquerque's City Council and joined the Bernalillo County Commission in 2001.
Cummins says he supports rate increases for PNM and that bankrupting the company will not help the economy. If Cummins finds his way onto the PRC, he says rate cases would be expedited more quickly. He would also leave it up to private industry to develop technology for the state's energy needs, or, as he says, "market-driven solutions."
And that's it. Cummins has little on his website (the only source of information available) about policy. He's mounted an anti-Marks campaign but hasn't given us a single reason to be pro-Cummins.
Job Description: Part of a five-member governing body that regulates complex industries in the state such as utilities, telecommunications, insurance, fire and transportation.
Term: Four years (maximum of two terms)
Jason Marks, Democrat (Incumbent)
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