Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative’s revenue has taken a hit because of COVID-19.

    “We need to re-do the budget, Ernesto, I think we need to have a budget meeting and re-do the budget because when you did the budget, you did it on last year’s forecast, and the COVID hadn’t hit,” said Co-op Trustee-at-Large John Tapia to General Manager Ernesto Gonzales during the financial presentation at the June 26 Board meeting. “Through this right now I’m hearing decrease, decrease, decrease in revenue, but yet our operations are staying.”

    In April 2019, the Co-op’s electric revenue was $4,087,189, while in April 2020, it was $3,505,683, a decrease of $581,506 or 14 percent.

    And in May 2019, the electric revenue was $3,867,269, while in May 2020, it was $3,408,660, a decrease of $458,609 or almost 12 percent.

    The Co-op’s other sources of revenue went down, too.

    Other revenue–which includes joint pole use and service charges–decreased by about 43 percent from April 2019 to 2020, while from May 2019 to 2020, it decreased by 57 percent.

    Co-op Chief Financial Officer Teresa Chavez said the decrease in other revenue in part reflects the fact that the Co-op has stopped sending out disconnect notices with late fees.

    “We’ve seen a pretty good reduction on that,” she said.

    One of the main drivers of the decrease in total revenue is the fact that Kinder Morgan, the Co-op’s largest single load, is not using any power.

    Kinder Morgan is an oil and gas company that operates a pumping station south of Bloomfield, to which the Co-op provides electricity.

    In April and May of 2019, Kinder Morgan’s load accounted for 13 percent of the Co-op’s total revenue, while in April and May of 2020, it accounted for 1 percent.

    All but three of their accounts are suspended, each of which are being billed monthly for about $13,000, Chavez said.

    In April 2019, revenue from Kinder Morgan totaled $517,763, while in April 2020, it was $39,251, a decrease of $478,512 or 92 percent.

    In May 2019, Kinder Morgan revenue was $518,461, while in May 2020, it was $38,940, a decrease of $479,521 or 92 percent.

    The Co-op’s revenue also decreased because of the closure of casinos in the area, as it usually provides power to the Ohkay Casino, the Santa Claran, Buffalo Thunder and Cities of Gold.

    The casinos closed in mid-March, and most remain closed, with the exception of the Ohkay Casino, which re-opened in mid-June.

    Gonzales said the closures further reduced the Co-op’s revenue, though he did not know by how much.

    To help weather the economic effects of the virus, the Co-op has received a $1.4 million loan from the federal Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program.

    The Administration could forgive the loan, if the full-time employee headcount remains the same and wages do not decrease.

    So far, no Co-op employees have been let go, and nobody’s hours or wages have been cut, Co-op Board President Leo Marquez confirmed in a Tuesday text message.

(1) comment

HHanzo

If it does come to laying off workers, I feel sorry for the employees that aren’t buddies with the board, they’re going to be the first to go. The co-op is plagued with nepotism and employees that aren’t qualified to do their jobs. If you know the board, it won’t matter if you get in trouble with the law and can’t drive a company vehicle. They will create a new position for you and give you a promotion down the line, even if you aren’t qualified. [ninja]

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