Report: New Mexico families impacted by rising energy prices

As energy prices continue to rise, many New Mexico families are feeling increased pressure to make ends meet. 

Lower- and middle-income families represent 55 percent of New Mexico households and take home an average $1,900 per month – making their budgets especially tight. And when electric prices increase, there will be less money for housing, food, health care and other necessities. They will have to figure out where they can cut costs somewhere else.

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After paying taxes, the Jones family takes home about $1,800 a month. This makes them a lower- or middle-income family in New Mexico. 

They live in the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico. Right now, they count on electricity to help keep their house cool and to power the irrigation on their chili pepper farm. 

Their monthly budget includes things like rent, groceries, medications and occasionally some school supplies for their two kids. If the cost of electricity rises, one of these other basic necessities gets squeezed out. 

Exacerbating the issue is the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rules, which are projected to increase electricity prices in New Mexico by at least 14 percent. 

This increase could mean that little Janie might not be able to afford her binders and notebooks when school starts next month or that Mrs. Jones will have to cut back on next month’s grocery shopping, while Mr. Jones skips an appointment with a doctor for chronic pain.

Family budgets are already spread too thin. Given all it does for us, electricity remains a great value – but New Mexicans can’t afford to see drastic, regulation-driven increases in energy prices. 

To learn more, take a look at the graphic below. See a larger version of this infographic.

Source: Eugene M. Trisko, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Energy Cost Impacts on New Mexico Families, March 2015.