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Governor appoints three to Public Regulation Commission, signs executive order creating Tribal Advisory Council

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SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the appointment of Gabriel Aguilera, Brian Moore, and Patrick O’Connell to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Dec. 30, who all began their roles at the PRC the next day.

“These appointees are experienced professionals who have the skills needed to oversee an energy transition that is affordable, effective and equitable for every New Mexico community,” Lujan Grisham said in a press release published Dec. 30. “I’m grateful to each of these individuals for providing their expertise in service of our state.”

The governor also signed an executive order creating a Tribal Advisory Council to provide input to the commission on Dec. 30. The executive order proposes the selection of one representative from the eight northern Pueblos, one from the 10 southern Pueblos, one from one of the Apache tribes and one from the Navajo Nation. In the executive order, the governor strongly encourages the PRC to meet with the Tribal Advisory Council on a regular basis and consult with its leadership at PRC meetings.

“It’s extremely important that we ensure tribal voices are heard on issues before the PRC, regardless of who is appointed to the commission now and into the future, including the continued implementation of the landmark Energy Transition Act in tribal communities,” Lujan Grisham said.

Aguilera has worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since 2007, most recently serving as Senior Policy Advisor for the Commission’s Office of Energy Market Regulation western region. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland.  His term of appointment is four years.

Moore is a former state legislator representing eastern New Mexico counties. He is the President and CEO of Ranch Market supermarket in Clayton, N.M. Moore previously served as the legislative team leader for the New Mexico Association of Counties, as well as on the state’s Renewable Energy Transmission Authority Board and Lujan Grisham’s Economic Recovery Council.

He attended the University of Denver. His term of appointment is two years.

O’Connell is a professional engineer with more than 28 years of experience in New Mexico utilities. He is the Clean Energy Program Interim Director at Western Resource Advocates. He previously worked for the Public Service Company of New Mexico, New Mexico Gas Company and the Sangre de Cristo Water Company.

He holds a civil engineering degree from the University of New Mexico. His term of appointment is six years.

Prior to these appointments, members of the PRC were elected to office. In 2020, the New Mexico voters ratified the Legislature’s proposal to amend the state constitution to change the makeup of the Commission from a five-member elected body to a three-member governor-appointed panel starting in January 2023.

The governor selected the three new commissioners from a group of nine individuals vetted and submitted by the PRC Nominating Committee. This process was established in the 2020 constitutional amendment reforming the commission.

Staff Reports