Guest Column | Work on reform is most important issue
By Theresa Becenti-Aguilar
I extend a wonderful springtime to every person in New Mexico. It is a very good time to display my work at the Public Regulation Commission.
I was hired at the PRC in 2006 as the first Native American liaison. I had a strong desire and a sense of giving back to my community and New Mexico, therefore, I filed to run for PRC commissioner in 2008.
I come from a small community called Coyote Canyon, New Mexico. My community faced barriers of no electricity, no telephone service, and no water system. Today, I am proud that I fulfilled my duties to regulate utility companies across the board.
The most important issue that I addressed is to continue to reform the PRC. Since 2010 to the present time, I believe PRC has improved by bringing in professional division directors with experience and skills to lead the PRC at a higher professional level. I appreciate, and I am proud of the entire agency employees who work very hard and diligently to improve our work at every level.
During my tenure as a PRC commissioner, I streamlined the utility industries approach with the commission. In the past, utility industries have shown an influence that I felt was improper. Under my leadership, I follow the procedure and the law when it comes to ex parte communication.
I have also scrutinized utility industry applications on different cases, so the ratepayers do not pay more than what is reasonable.
My upmost duty, I stood up to the utility industries, and I will continue to fight for the citizens of the state of New Mexico to ensure that I do my job accurately, professionally, and leave the PRC on stable grounds.
On the broadband projects, I continue to advocate for my constituents in unserved and underserved areas. I consider my advocacy a success because the commission has approved 39 projects covering over 60,000 square miles, 20 new towers built, connecting total population of over 95,000 people, and 25,311 road miles covered.
My vision is to provide mobile broadband voice and data, Lifeline connections, affordable connectivity plan, internet services for education facilities, libraries, health care, and government services. Most importantly, the broadband projects that were approved have fiber optic connectivity and fixed wireless broadband for residential and small businesses.
In closing, human-focus decisions are absolutely critical in the utility atmosphere. I concentrated on the vital needs of human-focus policies and practical actions, during the global pandemic.
How interconnected we are as human beings and how powerful decisions can be in rising to challenges.
My role as a utility regulator I felt the urge to strategize solutions that meet a particular moment and the needs of the people involved during the pandemic.
Theresa Becenti-Aguilar represents District 4, the northwest corner of the state, on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, which regulates utilities, telecommunications and motor carrier industries to ensure fair and reasonable rates, and to assure reasonable and adequate services to the public as provided by law.