For Immediate Release:
February 24, 2022
Contact: Jordan Gutierrez — (505) 270-7628
ALBUQUERQUE, NM— In his ongoing efforts to protect New Mexicans, Attorney General Balderas announced today he is convening an all-of-government task force, with state, local, and tribal government leaders, to critically assess New Mexico’s response to extreme heat events. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has a docket open to explore how the State’s largest utility can avoid rolling blackouts this summer. The Attorney General’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Division has already begun meeting with PNM, industry experts, and interest groups to explore the legal and technical options for avoiding blackouts this summer.
But whether facing blackouts or not, extreme heat can be one of the most deadly weather events facing vulnerable populations. The new Task Force will seek to ensure there are no gaps between state and local emergency response and the State’s power suppliers. The Attorney General is inviting leaders from State, local, and tribal governments as well as industry experts to examine how New Mexico families will be cared for in the event of an extreme heat event.
“With the looming threat of blackouts during extreme heat waves and increased global risks, it’s critical that we investigate our energy security capacity and examine our infrastructure and response plans,” said Attorney General Balderas. “High temperatures for days on end are a significant health risk to all New Mexicans. If the threatened blackout risks become a reality, vulnerable families must be protected,” Balderas said. “All levels of government need to prepare for these heat events as they would any other natural disaster,” Balderas added.
Today, these stakeholders were invited to review the comprehensive response plans in place in the event of blackouts during major heatwaves. Focus will be on community communications, raising awareness of the risks, options for preventing widespread heat illness, and making cooling centers accessible to vulnerable populations.