Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



The Southwest Hispanic Research Institute at the University of New Mexico conducted a one-year study of the impact of energy-related policies on a survey sample of 584 Hispanic families in the New Mexico communities of Taos, Albuquerque and Las Cruces 0 Upon an extensive review of the research literature, the project team developed and tested sixteen hypotheses focusing on nine energy impact issues: Energy Use and Expenditures, Conservation Efforts, Market Basket Effects, Employment and Energy, Recreation and Leisure Activities, Transportation Effects, Attitudes Towards Energy Costs, Attitudes Towards Rate Structure and Evaluation of the Federal Energy Assistance Program. The data supported most the hypotheses derived from the literature but not all. Specific findings indicated that the Hispanic families in the sample have reduced their level of expenditures for energy expenses, have implemented a variety of conservation measures, have curtailed expenses for food purchases, leisure and recreational activities and for miscellaneous transportation; also, the data show significant dissatisfaction with high energy costs which are perceived to accrue benefits mostly to the energy suppliers; the respondents were in favor of a progressive rate structure that would lessen the price burden on families with low or fixed income. Not supported were hypotheses that predicted negative impacts of energy costs on employment-related activities. Lastly, the federal low-income energy assistance program in New Mexico received weak support. The study concludes with policy recommendations calling for an energy message program geared to regional and socio-cultural factors, a companion program to solarize homes and farm structures utilizing technologies suitable to the region, incentives to private sector minority entrepreneurs equipping them with solar venture capabilities that will serve local markets and create jobs, an ""energy safety net"" and an intensive greenhouse program that will protect the market basket resources of the poor, a government policy on transportation and energy that will insure access to essential formal and informal points in the health and welfare system, and lastly, a federal-state-local partnership of financial and technical assistance options at the community level to expand energy assistance and weatherization programs.


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Southwest Hispanic Research Institute


SW Hispanic Research Institute