Community & Environment
Creating Value for Customers and Communities
PNM Resources Inc. strives to deliver a superior customer experience by understanding the dynamic needs of customers through ongoing market research, identifying and establishing best-in-class services and programs, and proactively communicating and engaging with customers at a regional and community level. In 2013, PNM refocused its efforts to improve the customer experience through an integrated marketing and communications strategy that encompassed brand repositioning and advertising, customer service improvements, and strategic customer and stakeholder engagement. As part of this effort, in February 2014, PNM launched an updated website that provides an increase in self-service options for customers, as well as a mobile platform.
Integrated communication around known satisfaction drivers, including billing and payment options, bill redesign, energy efficiency, and environmental and community stewardship ensured PNM retained traction from prior efforts, as well as gained new ground in critical areas, notably corporate citizenship perceptions. PNM’s perceived value to customers has also improved.
Recognizing the importance of environmental stewardship to customers and other stakeholders, PNM expanded engagement with environmental stakeholders to promote ongoing dialogue and input. Similarly, PNM also proactively communicated with communities about its efforts and plans related to environmental stewardship. Customers took note of PNM’s efforts in this area. A nationally recognized customer satisfaction benchmark revealed gains in awareness of PNM’s efforts to improve environmental impact, as well as customer perceptions around the commitment to preserving the environment now and for future generations. Benchmark data also demonstrates positive movement in the communication component of the customer experience.
PNM continues to expand its environmental stakeholder outreach, piloting small environmental stakeholder dialogue groups on key issues such as renewable energy and energy efficiency planning. PNM also employed proactive stakeholder outreach in two key projects – the development of PNM’s renewable energy procurement plans that involved distributed solar energy developers early in the conversation and the siting of the gas-fired La Luz peaking generation facility near Belen, New Mexico, which featured in-depth community involvement and education early in the planning stages of the project. In both cases highly favorable outcomes were achieved and controversial negative media coverage was avoided.
We’re committed to strengthening the communities we serve by helping others and making a difference in the lives of our customers. We provide power to more than 746,000 homes and businesses in 60 communities throughout New Mexico and Texas. Our employees live, work and raise their families in these communities and we are proud to give back through investments that include grants, charitable contributions and employee volunteer time focused on supporting education, economic development and the environment.
PNM Resources Inc. has a demonstrated commitment to build productive relationships with stakeholders, including customers, regulators, legislators and interveners through outreach, collaboration, and various community-oriented programs.
Building off work that began in 2008, PNM has continued outreach efforts to connect low-income customers with nonprofit community service providers offering support and help with such needs as utility bills, food, clothing, medical programs, services for seniors, and weatherization. In 2013, PNM hosted 22 community events throughout its service territory to assist low-income customers. Furthermore, the PNM Good Neighbor Fund provided $0.3 million of assistance with utility bills to 3,610 families in 2013. In 2013, PNM committed funding of $0.9 million to the PNM Good Neighbor Fund.
The PNM Resources Foundation helps nonprofits become more energy efficient through Reduce Your Use grants. In 2013, PNMR committed funding of $3.5 million to the PNM Resources Foundation. For 2013, the foundation awarded $0.2 million to support 56 projects in New Mexico to provide shade structure installations, window replacements, and efficient appliance purchases. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Reduce Your Use grants have provided nonprofit agencies in New Mexico with a total of $1.4 million of support. In 2013, in connection with the PNM Resources Foundation’s 30th anniversary, the foundation awarded thirty $10,000 environmental grants to nonprofit agencies. In 2014, the PNM Resources Foundation launched a new grant program designed to help nonprofit organizations build more vibrant communities. Power Up Grants in the aggregate amount of $500,000 were awarded to 24 nonprofits in New Mexico and Texas for projects ranging from creating community gathering spaces to revitalizing neighborhood parks to building a youth sports field.
In Texas, community outreach is centered first on local relationships, specifically with community leaders, nonprofit organizations and key customers in areas served by TNMP. Community liaisons serve in each of TNMP's three geographic business areas, reaching out and ensuring productive lines of communication between TNMP and its customer base.
TNMP maintains long-standing relationships with several key nonprofit organizations, including agencies that support children and families in crisis, food banks, environmental organizations, and educational nonprofits, through employee volunteerism and corporate support. TNMP also actively participates in safety fairs and demonstrations in addition to supporting local chambers of commerce in efforts to build their local economies.
TNMP's energy efficiency program provides unique offers to multiple customer groups, including residential, commercial, government, education, and nonprofit customers. These programs not only enable peak load and consumption reductions, particularly important when extreme weather affects Texas' electric system, but they also demonstrate TNMP's commitment to more than just delivering electricity by partnering with customers to optimize their energy usage.
We are committed to protecting our environment, supporting the advancement of clean renewable energy, promoting energy conservation measures and reducing our carbon footprint. Our focus on environmental stewardship encourages the utilization of renewable and sustainable resources and seeks to preserve and protect the beautiful lands we serve. We engage in efforts that support energy sustainability, environmental conservation and stewardship of our natural resources by:
- Energy efficiency programs;
- Land restoration, such as recovery of an area after a natural disaster;
- Preservation of natural ecosystems and wildlife;
- Programs that increase environmental education and awareness of key resource issues; and
- Beautification and enhancement of communities through tree planting and community clean up.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated greenhouse gas regulations Under the Clean Air Act and President Obama's Climate Action Plan. PNM Resources has played an active role in advocating for federal climate change legislation and has taken actions to reduce the carbon emissions associated with its energy production. We have several programs to reduce or offset greenhouse gases.
In anticipation of these regulations and to comply with regional haze regulations, PNM Resources has committed to a plan for San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) that addresses federal haze regulations under the Clean Air Act. If approved, the plan would effectively reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions to at least 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2018. We are committed to actively engage in the state and federal policy and regulatory debate, to ensure that future policies are efficient, environmentally effective, and affordable.
Environmental Management Systems
Our Environmental Management System has made PNM Resources a leader in the utility industry for minimizing and mitigating environmental impacts of utility work for well over a decade. When our employees are out in the field keeping the electric system reliable, one of their top priorities is protecting New Mexico’s and Texas’ environmental and cultural resources.
Employees must monitor their work through the Environmental Management System (EMS) process before any kind of maintenance or construction field work is conducted. They screen for a variety of issues including:
- Habitat and threatened and endangered species issues;
- Water and riparian area sensitivities;
- Cultural resources;
- Hazards such as leaking underground storage tanks and landfills; and
- Federal, state and local jurisdictional triggers.
If an environmental issue is identified, the PNM Resources Environmental Services Department reviews the screening forms and works with operations staff on next steps to ensure the work is done with the proper environmental precautions, stipulations and potential permits for the work to proceed. This work has helped us establish a significant database of New Mexico’s and Texas’ environmental and culturally sensitive areas which is graphically displayed as Hot-zones or Hot-wings using Geographic Information System software. In these areas, construction and maintenance activities are conducted in accordance with special stipulations specific to the type of resource of concern.
Our power plants have International Organization for Standardization (IS0) certified environmental management systems that are audited annually by external auditors. An environmental management system enables us to develop and implement a policy and objectives that take into account legal and other requirements about significant environmental aspects. It identifies environmental issues we can control and those which we can influence. It’s a tool we use to establish, implement, maintain and improve environmental policy, and to demonstrate conformity with ISO 14001:2004.
Wildlife Protection Programs
Our service areas in Texas and New Mexico are home to hundreds of avian species. Utility structures are places that birds naturally find to roost, nest or find protection from inclement weather. Unfortunately birds and electricity don’t always mix. While birds can sit on power lines and be safe, if they happen to touch energized conductors and/or grounded equipment, such as a transformer bank, they can be electrocuted.
Since 2010, the company has bird-guarded more than 5,000 poles. The program focuses on minimizing the numbers of birds killed or injured by our system. All bird-guarded distribution feeders have seen a decline in those numbers.
We are the founder and ongoing sponsor of the New Mexico Avian Protection Working Group, in conjunction with Hawks Aloft, New Mexico Game and Fish, the Rural Utility Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group trains co-ops and other utilities throughout the Southwest on avian protection best practices. The company is a charter member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC), a national organization of utility industry biologists and standards engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. APLIC has developed and published Suggested Practices for Avian Protection on Power Lines, which reflects the state of the art in avian protection practices.
We have had corporate-wide solid waste reduction goals for over a decade. In New Mexico alone, our facilities recycled approximately 9,309 tons of materials, meeting a third multi-year solid waste reduction goal in the last decade. The resources saved through this recycling are equivalent to conserving 4,868 households' energy consumption, 94,207 barrels of oil or 4,378,751 gallons of gasoline. We were named Large Business Recycler of the Year in 2013 by the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce.
Here’s some of what we recycled by the numbers:
- 6,149.3 tons of metal;
- 3,061.5 tons of wood;
- 1,857.50 tons of concrete;
- 782 tons of cement block;
- 418.9 tons of paper;
- 366.6 tons of used oil;
- 325 tons of asphalt;
- 130.8 tons of e-waste;
- 29.2 tons of grey water;
- 11 tons of green waste;
- 6 tons of used tires;
- 3.8 tons of plastic.
Refrigerator Recycling Program
The Refrigerator Recycling Program that we offer to customers recycled approximately 723 tons of metal, glass, plastic and insulating foam.
The Green Team
The PNM Resources’ Green Team is a grass-roots, company-wide employee organization where each facility focuses on reducing, reusing and recycling to reducing environmental impact. Employees at each facility develop programs and practices that make sense for each location. Members meet monthly to share successes, tips and tools with other teams. Some of their activities include:
- Adopting a "resource stream" (cardboard, batteries, wood) and ensure it is recycled properly;
- Adopting a dumpster and estimate contents prior to pick-up (for waste metrics);
- Adopt a recycling container and provide metrics;
- Developing junk mail-elimination programs;
- Reducing paper usage, changing habits by setting printers to default and always print two-sided;
- Encouraging alternatives to paper plates and cups;
- Ensuring unused office supplies go to a worthy non-profit organization.
Renewable Energy Expansion
PNM Resources has made significant investments in renewable energy. By 2016, PNM’s wind, solar and geothermal sources will produce the electricity used by 150,000 average homes, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of taking 201,000 cars off the road and fresh water use at power plants by 382 million gallons annually.
PNM Resources first installed a 25-kilowatt solar array at Algodones, N.M. in 2006. Since then, it has committed $269 million to company-owned, utility-scale solar to provide clean energy to our customers. Today, we have eight solar centers in operation plus three under development. We have proposed building four more solar centers in 2015 to comply with the state renewable portfolio standard and create a more balanced generation fuel mix.
Solar Capacity 2014: 67 MW, 23,425 average homes
Solar Capacity 2016: 107 MW, 40,000 average homes
Geothermal energy uses heat from below the earth's crust to create steam that turns the turbine, ultimately generating electricity. Like wind and solar, geothermal energy emits no pollutants into the air; unlike wind and solar energy, it is available to serve customers around the clock.
PNM Resources is the first customer to purchase energy from the Dale Burgett Geothermal Plant, the New Mexico’s first utility scale geothermal plant. The plant is located in the Animas Valley, about 20 miles southwest of Lordsburg, New Mexico. PNM has an agreement for 10 megawatts of capacity. The plant has an initial capacity of four megawatts and is projected to provide the power used by 5,700 average residences in 2014.
The New Mexico Wind Energy Center was one of the world's largest wind farms when it went online Oct. 1, 2003. It is located 170 miles southeast of Albuquerque and 20 miles northeast of Fort Sumner, a windy area perfectly suited to generate electricity. Power production does not require water, produce emissions or generate solid waste. PNM and its customers purchase all of the wind energy produced.
Starting Jan. 1, 2015, PNM will begin purchasing wind energy from the 102 megawatt Red Mesa Wind Energy Center. It is located about 50 miles west of Albuquerque and came online in 2010. The center's 64 turbines produce the energy used by 29,000 average residences.
Renewable Energy Storage
Energy storage is the greatest barrier to fully realizing the potential of solar and wind energy. The PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project uses smart grid technology and batteries to smooth output and store energy for later use, helping PNM and its partners address this challenge.