SA community sounds off during CPS Energy tele town hall on proposed rate increase

The city-owned utility proposed to increase its gas & electric base rates by 4.25%. Customers during a meeting on Thursday night asked why.

SAN ANTONIO – CPS Energy led a conversation for the community Thursday night to discuss the logistics and reasoning behind its proposed rate increase that would start next year.

The city-owned gas and electric utility proposed to increase its gas and electric base rates by 4.25% in a pair of meetings earlier this month before the CPS Energy Board of Trustees and San Antonio City Council.

CPS Energy said the proposed increase would raise the average residential customer’s bills by less than $5.

The utility hopes to get board and City Council approval in early December. If both bodies approve the change, the new rates will take effect on Feb. 1, 2024.

“We need funding to be able to provide reliable service to our community,” said Dana Sotoodeh, CPS Energy’s public relations manager. “We need to accommodate the growth that’s happening in our community.”

During its town hall Thursday night, CPS Energy President & CEO Rudy Garza said problems from the winter storm in 2021 will not soon be forgotten, and increasing infrastructure reliability is one of the reasons CPS Energy is pushing for the proposed rate increase.

Customers asked Garza and other leaders with CPS Energy questions about the impacts of renewable energy and how certain neighborhoods would be impacted. Others sounded off, questioning why the rates needed to be increased at all.

The utility expects the increase would bring in another $85 million yearly and spend it partly by replacing aging technology, trimming more trees and making larger grid upgrades.

“We’re aware that they’re worried about their bills, and we want them to know that we have a multitude of resources to help them,” Sotoodeh said.

This comes as the winter season nears, and worries about the stability of the Texas energy grid pop up across San Antonio. Businesses like Macario Brothers Lawn Care lean into holiday lights to boost sales outside of the summer season, but owner Douglas Macario said he’s cautious of the lights he’s using.

“We provide everything: lights, clips, timers and all,” Macario said. “We only use LED lights. They definitely use less electricity.”

To watch the streamed tele town hall, click here.

More information regarding the rate request, including a bill calculator, can be found in English and Spanish on the CPS Energy website at cpsenergy.com/raterequest or cpsenergy.com/solicituddetarifas. For more information regarding CPS Energy’s billing assistance programs, visit cpsenergy.com/assistance.


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!