San Antonio – The CPS Board of Trustees will meet Monday afternoon for the first time since winter weather and a crisis on the Texas power grid put hundreds of thousands of San Antonio families in the dark last week.
CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams is scheduled to give a report on the “New Unprecedented Texas/San Antonio Energy Market Event” at the 1 p.m. Monday meeting. Though it is not specified in the agenda, it’s likely this will include a discussion of plans for customers to shoulder the cost of the power crisis for a decade or more.
Gold-Williams has said the cost of last week’s power crisis will be “huge,” but she has not yet publicly provided any hard numbers on how that would affect customers’ bills.
The amount CPS pays for fuel is typically rolled into customers’ bills over a 45 to 60-day period, Gold-Williams told reporters on Friday. However, given the massive surge in natural gas prices - as much as 16,000 percent - she says CPS understands “it would be unacceptable to just have customers bear the costs on their monthly bill.”
Gold-Williams has said CPS wants to avoid customers having “exorbitant bills” and has indicated the utility is working on plans to spread the cost out over a longer period of time - possibly 10 years or more.
It’s an idea that seems likely to be jeered and derided by CPS customers who spent hours or days at a time without power last week. CPS officials have said that at the peak of the forced outages, which were meant to preserve the larger Texas power grid, there were about 372,000 CPS customers without power.
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.
Gold-Williams told reporters on Saturday that CPS will be looking at all its options to pay for the event, suggesting there may end up being federal assistance it could use.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also held a phone conference with state leaders Saturday to discuss how the state could help reduce the burden of high energy bills following the power crisis.
The CPS Energy Board of Trustees meeting will be held 1 p.m. Monday by telephone and live-streamed online. You can also listen in by calling 1-(888)886-6602.
People wishing to make a public comment must pre-register by calling 210-353-4662 between 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. on Monday.