Letters to the Editor


Check on your propane price

In 2009, the governor of New Mexico signed a bill that directed the Public Regulation Commission to develop rules and regulations for the propane industry. This bill was widely supported by the Legislature because, up until now, there has been no consumer oversight and protection from unscrupulous propane dealers.

The result has been that pricing for purchase of propane has varied by as much as a dollar a gallon; nothing has been in place for emergency deliveries; dealers can raise their prices during storms; and the propane industry does not have to honor the Winter Moratorium, which protects disabled and senior citizens from having their fuel discontinued during the winter months.
All utilities have oversight that prevents price gouging and other abuses of consumers, but the propane industry is not considered a utility.
If you are a propane customer, you may be charged higher prices if you only purchase 100 gallons of propane at a time. This can be up to $100 on a 100-gallon fill. You may also be charged more if you only fill your tank a couple of times a year.
If you are renting your tank from your dealer, that price is also variable — some dealers charge more than others. If you wish to switch companies, you will need a safety inspection, which can result in upgrades to your system; you will have to pay for these upgrades if you rent your tank.
The good news is that your price may be negotiable. Propane customers need to call their dealer and ask how much they are paying per gallon and why. Check if you can get a better price with your dealer and what other dealers in your area are charging. Some dealers have a flat rate, some don’t.
The Public Regulation Commission has established a database of complaints that they will use to make rules and regulations. If you feel you are not being treated fairly by your dealer for any reason, contact: Mona Varela, Director, Consumer Relation Division, Public Regulation Commission, 1120 Paseo de Peralta, Room 409, P.O. Box 1269, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1269. You can also contact Mona by calling 505-827-4661. Anyone who has comments on this problem should also call. Your opinion is important.
Starting in March, interested consumers, consumer protection groups, the PRC and members of the propane industry will resume work on this issue. More legislation will probably be needed to correct his problem. Let your legislators know how you feel.
Betty Haagenstad
Ojo Caliente

Thanks for the support
The Cottonwood Valley Charter School (CVCS) Golf Club would like to extend a very sincere thank you to all of the folks who have helped make this past golf season a successful one for our kids.
We’ve had as many as 35 fourth- through eighth-graders showing up twice a week at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course throughout the heart of the winter. And this probably would not happen were it not for the dedication of not only the kids but our volunteer coaches as well.
Russ Moore, Sabino Grijalva, Amanda Gerard and the rest of the golf course staff go above and beyond to make golf available to kids from all walks of life, and they have been great to the CVCS Golf Club for years now. Without their support, golf in Socorro would not be the powerhouse sport that it is today. Our practice season will end this Friday, Feb. 12, but because of the pro shop’s avid encouragement and cooperation with all of the golf teams in Socorro, our kids will continue to learn and excel in this ultimate test of personal athleticism for many years to come.
First State Bank, the Socorro Men’s Golf Association and the golf course itself have donated the team membership, clubs and golf balls since the inception of the CVCS Golf Club. And because of their donations, every team member has a set of clubs and accessories with which to practice and play the game. We’d also like to thank TWGI Marketing for providing golf balls, tees, ball mark repair tools, and countless other necessities at no cost whatsoever.
Other golf course members have anonymously donated golf balls over the years, so with the one exception of approximately 20y orders of the “M” Mountain Grill’s famous cheese fries every practice, all golf during the season doesn’t cost the kids a penny.
Thanks again to everyone, and we’ll be back in November for another round!
Dennis Walsh


Ways to be cost effective
I want to thank Mr. Al Browne (El Defensor Chieftain, Letters to the Editor, Feb. 3) for actually realizing the truth behind what is going on with our Socorro Electric Co-op Board of Trustees. He is a man of courage for saying what he said, and I thank him for that.
Now, what I say next may sound biased because my father, Juan Gonzales, was on the board for most of my life. But I feel I am quite knowledgeable about what our board does and I have strong feelings about many issues now facing the board.
Mr. (Charlie) Wagner and his supporters believe that the board has too many board members and wants to reduce the board from 11 to five. The questions is why?
A little background information, the board has always had 11 board members since it started back in 1945. Although districts have been redrawn many times over the years, there has always remained a constant number of 11 board members who have served the community in its best interest. Why should we change what is not broke?
Second, Mr. (Donald) Wolberg in the last co-op meeting said we should renew our vows? What is he talking about? This is not a marriage here. Mr. Wolberg has no clue about what is going on, or has the experience. He thinks he has all the answers and can save the day. Well, I’m sorry Mr. Wolberg, but you do not have the knowledge to say such things. You have a lot to learn.
Third, Mr. Wolberg has been put in charge of a so-called informational meeting. I have a serious problem with that. Why are we member-owners paying for another meeting?
There is a high cost to the co-op to having such meetings, and no one really wants to be at these meetings when other obligations are far more important.
Did you know that the co-op cost for having it’s annual meeting runs $20,000 including door prizes? What is the cost for the informational meeting? Maybe $15,000 with no door prizes. For what, to get information? Why can’t the co-op save the extra expense and hold the informational meeting during their annual meeting? That would be the logical solution. It would be a shame if the co-op put on this meeting and only 50 people out of 13,000 show up. That is not cost-effective if you ask me.
There are other ways to get information out to the members. There is putting newsletters every month in with the billing cycle, or on the co-op Web site. Don’t you think these are more cost-effective measures? I sure do.
I feel this is the tip of the iceberg. If we member-owners don’t wake up and see that all these so-called reform issues are wrong, then we can expect our rates to double, services to be cut and, worst of all, jobs will be lost within a year. And I for one won’t stand for that.
Michael L. Gonzales


Socorro Repairs are in order
In response to Al Browne’s Feb. 3 letter in the El Defensor Chieftain: Your last sentence says, “You can’t fix what is not broke.”
That is exactly the point! The Socorro Electric Co-op board (before the new members took office) IS broke.
Enough people believed so to elect replacement officers. Those people took the “wool from their eyes” that you describe, to become informed about all the disgraceful practises that you defend.
What is broke does, indeed, need fixing!
Ruth White