CPS Energy works to build customer buy-in to demand response energy conservation programs

With ongoing threats to the Texas power grid, CPS Energy said its trying to get more customers to conserve energy during peak demand times.

SAN ANTONIO – Jonathan Tijerina said CPS Energy is working overtime to get customers to conserve energy during peak demand times.

“To be honest, we’re probably fearful every single day,” said Tijerina, the vice president of development at CPS Energy. “We are manning and positioning ourselves to be in a position to respond to different events or triggers that might happen 24/7, 365 days.”

After city and county officials gathered just a few weeks ago to urge people in the San Antonio area to conserve energy with the ongoing extreme heat, CPS Energy said it’s looking to build up customer count for its demand response program. The demand response program is one part of the overarching Sustainable Tomorrow Energy Plan, or STEP, at CPS Energy.

Justin Chamberlain, the manager of demand response, said demand response is a short-term relief effort.

“Demand response is about short breaks of using energy to be able to relieve the grid,” Chamberlain said. “We use it more and more now than we ever did back then.”

Chamberlain said the demand response program started around two decades ago but CPS Energy is seeing its most usage right now.

He said it breaks down into three programs: the WiFi Thermostat Program, the Power Play program and the Commercial Demand Response.

“We’re trying to find a way to engage every customer to get them to conserve energy,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain said around 150,000 thermostats are registered and active in the Wi-Fi Thermostat Program. But some CPS Energy users said they’ve never heard of the program before.

“Honestly, I never have,” Adrian Nash said. “But we’re big electricity savers unless it’s the AC. The AC is always running.”

People across San Antonio are finding ways to conserve, even if it’s not through one of CPS’ programs.

“We are on a budget, so what we do is we try to maintain the electricity and keep the lights off during the day,” Raina Rivera said.

Tijerina said demand response is a step in working toward a bigger solution when it comes to energy grid stability.

“It’s up to us as a consumer and it’s up to us as the utility to continue to figure out how we bring up awareness and offer those materials to educate and grow the programs further,” Tijerina said.

About the Author:

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!