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The constitutional amendment #1 is addressing a key challenge. The energy transition from fossil fuels to clean energy over the next decade is the most challenging work we will ever do because of climate risks and economic impact to our state. And the heavy lifting of that work rests on our commissioners. The electricity portion makes up 40% of the fossil fuels today which was addressed by the Energy Transition Act. The unaddressed part of this transition is more daunting. If we convert the rest of our fossil fuels used for transportation to electricity using electric vehicles and used for heating and cooling to electricity, then that more than doubles the grid loads putting a huge challenge on our commissioners. This is uncharted territory. We must have competent members of the Commission at the helm. And the duration must be long enough to bear fruit. Compared to what we have now, I would propose this is a step forward and is necessary given the monumental efforts, risks, and opportunities ahead.
Based on my experience, I would conclude the current system of electing PRC commissioners does not work. It adds costs to utilities and to the public to have unqualified or inexperienced individuals in that job. Our political system doesn’t look at qualifications of candidates when electing individuals like we would if we were interviewing to fill a key position in our organization. So there is value in the idea of a government committee carefully vetting and selecting experts who could run the PRC because they are qualified to do so. I vote for NM#1.
Taiyoko works for a renewable energy company and is a board member of the Renewable Energy Industry Association (REIA).