Labor Day weekend usually marks summer’s end. SA-area businesses say it can’t come soon enough.

With 66 days of triple-digit temperatures in the San Antonio area, businesses like Congelato! in Helotes said this summer has been a struggle.

Helotes, TX – Isaac Butler said this Labor Day weekend couldn’t come soon enough.

“I would say as far as this summer goes, we will be happy to see it in the rearview mirror,” Butler said.

Butler and Ivette Gray own Congelato!, a gelato shop in Helotes. Summer 2023 has been marked as the hottest summer on record in the San Antonio area, with 66 days of triple-digit temperatures as of Saturday. Butler and Gray said they started noticing fewer customers during the summer months last year, but this summer has been exceptionally slow.

“It can be really disheartening, to be quite honest. I take a lot of pride in the shop,” Butler said.

The shop is outdoors only right now, which Butler said makes it even more difficult for customers to enjoy gelato.

“We did open up the shop for about two weeks, but we couldn’t keep the gelato frozen with the front door opening and closing,” Butler said. “At one point this summer, I actually had the central air in the shop running a portable air conditioner and two window units all going at the same time just to try to protect our product.”

Gray said they’ve seen a handful of high energy bills this summer.

“We’re trying to survive,” Gray said “These costs are still rising.”

And the heat has been so extreme that one of their gelato freezers even broke because of how overworked it was.

“It just cranked out,” Butler said. “We’ll never know what this summer cost us. I just hope that if that we can be here to fight another summer.”

Two weeks ago, CPS Energy, San Antonio officials, and Bexar County leaders all sounded the alarm about the potential of controlled energy outages, citing concerns about the ERCOT grid in the summer heat.

“We just got to build more capacity,” Rudy Garza, the CPS Energy president and CEO, said. “Until we get the scale that we need to completely, you know, do away with this issue, you know, I mean, next summer will not be much different than the summer, depending upon what happens at the state level.”

CPS Energy reported on Aug. 24, when officials met at City Hall, to warn about controlled outages, that they were able to track conservation levels among their demand response program.

In that program, users opt to conserve energy during volunteer events. On Aug. 24, 230 MW of energy was saved in this program, which is enough to power 46,000 homes.

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About the Authors:

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.