CPS Energy will withhold winter storm charges while seeking funds to alleviate costs

San Antonio utility company still determining total cost of winter storm’s impact

Skyrocketing price of power could impact CPS Energy bills for a decade or more
Skyrocketing price of power could impact CPS Energy bills for a decade or more

SAN ANTONIO – In order to offset skyrocketing fuel costs incurred during last week’s winter storm, CPS Energy officials announced Monday that customers will not see those costs reflected in their bills for now.

With more elected officials indicating that the state government should step in to protect taxpayers from the costs, CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams said the utility company will seek those relief dollars first before customers are ever charged for it.

“Our goal is to use every financial tool, every negotiating tool, every partnership, everything we can to bring that down,” Gold-Williams said.

Officials still don’t know the full cost associated with the storm’s impact, Gold-Williams said. She said they will continue to assess those costs “all this week” before an estimate is determined.

As the storm knocked multiple sources of power offline, Gold-Williams said the cost of natural gas spiked by 16,000%. Those charges would massively increase bills for hundreds of thousands of residents who did not have power throughout the week due to controlled outages across the state.

As they work to calculate the costs, CPS Energy has taken down customers’ “Manage My Account” portals while they work on correcting the system and adjusting bills.

Gold-Williams said customers will be notified before they are charged for bills connected with winter storm fuel charges. She stressed that they will work with customers on affordability issues and noted that CPS Energy has not made an energy disconnection for nonpayment purposes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has already said it is “absolutely not” an acceptable outcome and has suggested that CPS send the bill on to the Energy Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT), the operator of the Texas power grid.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also called on state lawmakers to help alleviate residents’ energy bills.

Shortly after the media briefing, the CPS Energy trustees will meet at 1 p.m., for the first time since the winter storm occurred.


About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.