May 24, 2024

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Picture-making is a massive, pricey method in PNM-Avangrid merger hard work | Area Information

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General public Service Organization of New Mexico poured more than $1 million into advertising and marketing from March by way of June to offer the community on its proposed merger with Avangrid.

Involved among four charges to PNM from the Albuquerque advertising firm 3 Promotion is one particular from early March for $864,290 for advert marketing campaign arranging and output, in addition broadcast, radio, digital and print ads.

The expenses — and in-person visits by PNM and Avangrid executives to critical influencers — suggest the businesses face not just a problem to get merger approval from the Public Regulation Fee. They are also trying to find wider community aid in a procedure that could instantly go to the point out Supreme Court if the fee rejects the proposal. 

The promoting keeps coming.

“Perfectly, there’s a good deal of it, that is for positive. It is pretty awesome,” explained Jeff Albright, who represents Bernalillo County in the issue. “I assume it would be pleasant if they put that exact same amount of effort and hard work into operating with the get-togethers” impacted by the proposal.

Connecticut-primarily based Avangrid, which hopes to obtain PNM for $8.3 billion, has experienced a bumpy journey given that the announcement of the prepared merger late past yr. Avangrid has been accused, among other factors, of withholding facts from the Community Regulation Commission about services troubles involving its subsidiaries in the northeastern United States.

Avangrid on July 11 ran a total-web page newspaper advertisement in The New Mexican, titled “An open letter to New Mexico from AVANGRID.” The letter, signed, “Humbly yours, Bob,” was from Bob Kump, president and deputy CEO of Avangrid.

He wrote Avangrid “under no circumstances meant to go away the perception that we ended up withholding data and if we created that perception, we apologize.”

PNM and Avangrid also ran a joint comprehensive-webpage advert that day in The New Mexican that asserted, “PNM is merging with AVANGRID.” But approval of the merger from the General public Regulation Commission appears to be less than specific.

And the firms are not just marketing. PNM, Avangrid and Avangrid’s mother or father firm, Spain-based mostly Iberdrola, have brought out their bosses to discuss to persons who have enter into key organizations’ positions on the proposed merger.

Pedro Azagra Blázquez, who serves the twin function of Avangrid board member and Iberdrola’s company enhancement director, arrived to New Mexico on Monday to earn help for the proposal.

Among those he satisfied with in Albuquerque had been representatives of Bernalillo County and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, neither of which has signed on with the merger proposal.

“We are continue to seeking to bridge the hole, and we are producing progress,” Albright mentioned, adding there is certainly “nonetheless a very long way to go.” Makes an attempt to agenda an interview with Blázquez by way of Avangrid and PNM public relations staff members customers were being unsuccessful.

Numerous corporations have offered their blessing to the proposed merger. Individuals consist of the San Juan Citizens Alliance, Diné Citizens Versus Ruining Our Atmosphere, Western Resource Advocates and the NAVA Instruction Project.

And some have not, such as the Sierra Club and New Mexico Affordable Responsible Electrical power Alliance.

Some of the remarkable difficulties include the composition of the board that would oversee PNM, how substantially economic development help would be presented right to the point out in the transaction, and an investigation in Spain of opportunity wrongdoing involving two Iberdrola executives and some other companies’ officials. 

Avangrid mentioned the investigation is only a point-getting mission, adding there have been no rates and Iberdrola is cooperating with investigators.

The merger proposal has the aid of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Legal professional Normal Hector Balderas. 

Backers of the proposed merger say PNM and New Mexico lag in changing to increasingly significant renewable vitality resources such as solar and wind. They say New Mexico has an abundance of both of those and that Avangrid and Iberdrola, which have sizeable practical experience in renewable power, could go the condition into the new era.

Pat Vincent-Collawn, president and CEO of PNM Methods, was among Avangrid and PNM executives who met with reps of The New Mexican‘s editorial board in late May well.

At that conference, Vincent-Collawn stated: “I’m positive you know we would like you to glance favorably on and in the long run endorse the merger that we are talking about with the Avangrid spouse and children of businesses. … But we would like currently to respond to each individual one particular of your thoughts, no make any difference how challenging they are.”

Vincent-Collawn and other folks at the meeting claimed now is the time to merge with industry experts who can tackle greenhouse fuel emissions and local weather alter. The selection on how New Mexico handles the make a difference could have an affect on electric support in the condition for a long time.

PNM and Avangrid are producing their arguments for the great importance of this merger by adverts. “They say that shareholders are paying out for this,” mentioned Mariel Nanasi of Santa Fe, a critic of the merger. “Nearly weekly now, they’re owning advertisements in the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican.”

Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern College in Illinois, explained “you have to make positive the added benefits come across” when corporations make a proposal like this. Calkins hasn’t studied the New Mexico condition extensively.

“Some of the negatives are getting a large amount of focus and mind-boggling the positives,” he explained. He stated image-creating for businesses is finest completed early mainly because “participating in catch-up” is hard. “And when you overlook that window, it is really challenging to overcome it.”

Calkins explained of Avangrid: “The excellent news is that they are having the situation severely and they’re doing work to handle that.”

The four invoices to PNM from 3 Advertising and marketing were being obtained by Nanasi, head of New Strength Economic climate. Nanasi is a dogged adversary of PNM and the merger who has sought a person document right after another by means of the “discovery” course of action authorized in Public Regulation Commission cases.

Paperwork that are acquired via discovery are shared with dozens of other contributors in a circumstance, these as attorneys and staffers, and may come to be appropriate to a case.  

Avangrid has hired Joanie Griffin, a marketing and advertising and general public relations expert with Sunny505 in Albuquerque, to support it with adverts and media relations. Griffin mentioned she and her business are having compensated their standard fee, totaling $150 an hour.

The advertisements are intended to “introduce the firm” to New Mexico, Griffin claimed in an electronic mail. She aids generate advertisement duplicate and devise the marketing approach, she claimed.

“They hired me to have anyone on the team that is local and is aware the media in this article,” she wrote. “Advertising is 1 of the strategies we use … to get the fact out.”

Griffin, contracted for services in May well, explained by way of electronic mail, “I joined the effort and hard work due to the fact I believe the merger is the greatest way for New Mexico to achieve the Governor’s goals of staying 100% renewable by 2045.” She said the feedback she receives from persons about the proposal is exceptional.

Some specialist witnesses, these kinds of as Scott Hempling, a Maryland lawyer who has penned thoroughly about utilities, have provided scorching written assessments of the merger proposal. The proposal is necessary by the commission to be in the public curiosity. Hempling reported the proposal appeared intended to benefit shareholders somewhat than the general public.

Fee hearing examiner Ashley Schannauer, who serves as a quasi choose with recommending authority to the fee on remaining conclusions, has designed tricky rulings from the firms. In one particular of those, he explained to PNM and Avangrid to publicly disclose a letter they experienced sought to maintain private. 

In an additional, Schannauer said Iberdrola would have to be included as an applicant in the proceedings regardless of the company’s wish to keep on being outdoors the method.

Albright explained PNM and Avangrid hoped to have a listening to in March, but that has been pushed to August. He mentioned of Avangrid leaders: “I never consider they experienced a good sense of both of those the process and the unique entities that would be associated out here.”

The promotion has given quite a few media stores in New Mexico some nice money, while none would say how significantly. 1 bill explained comprehensive-web page ads experienced been placed in nine New Mexico newspapers in May possibly. That invoice from 3 Marketing confirmed a bill of $180,763 to PNM. 

PNM spokesman Ray Sandoval failed to return messages for this story.

The enterprise also is promotion with lesser media retailers.

“We’re having at the very least two a month,” Las Vegas Optic advert consultant Cynthia Fitch claimed. PNM and Avangrid generally run unique adverts, she said. She stated the New Mexico Press Affiliation assists her newspaper and some others in the process.

Not every media outlet has acquired a chunk of ad profits from the organizations in the merger method. Bill Anderson, vice president and normal supervisor of KRQE-Tv in Albuquerque, claimed PNM has an account with his tv station but Avangrid does not.

Anderson mentioned: “We just have not achieved the new guys however.”

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