San Antonio City Council Approves CPS Energy Rate Increase Amidst Resident Concerns

San Antonio City Council Approves CPS Energy Rate Increase Amidst Resident ConcernsSource: Google Street View
Drew Archer
Published on December 07, 2023

The wallets of San Antonio residents are set to feel a little lighter as the City Council has given the green light to CPS Energy's request for a rate increase, marking the second hike in less than two years. Starting February 1, 2024, locals can expect their utility bills to swell by an average of $53 annually. The decision was finalized earlier today in the afternoon with a majority vote of 8-3 in favor of the increase, as reported by KENS5.

During the public comment segment before the vote, a medley of 15 residents seized the opportunity to express their disapproval. Among them, one woman stood out with her musical protest, singing "CPS Energy is Raising Your Rates" to the tune of a well-known holiday song, reflecting the creativity stirred by desperation, as reported by KENS5. Nevertheless, the council was swayed by the utility's argument that the extra $85 million gleaned from the increase would fuel necessary improvements.

CPS Energy has justified the uptick with a need to address "infrastructure resiliency, growth, technology and security needs and workforce planning," detailing a vision that aims to fortify the utility for the demands of both the present and future. This vision, dubbed "Vision 2027," paints a picture of an energy provider striving to stay at the forefront of innovation and growth. "This is part of a multi-year strategy of incremental rate increases necessary to maintain and improve the utility for the community now and in the future," CPS officials explained in a statement obtained by KENS5.

Stressing the gravity of the situation, CPS Energy outlined the decrepit state of its current power infrastructure and the inevitable need to revamp its two-decade-old core technology systems. Entwined with these technological woes is the human capital crisis—the looming retirement of 30% of their workforce raises questions about passing the torch hastily, not just to new but adequately trained hands. The Chair of the CPS Energy Board of Trustees, Janie Gonzalez, endorsed the rate increase, maintaining, "I stand by our decision to approve this rate increase, essential for the realization of Vision 2027." Her endorsement echoes the sentiments of CPS Energy's President & CEO, Rudy D. Garza, who believes the hike is critical for propelling the utility into the future, as Garza told KENS5.

Nevertheless, the decision weighs heavily on San Antonio residents, who, against the backdrop of a jolted economy, must reconcile with the layered reality of yet another financial constraint. While the increase might seem modest at an average of $4.45 more per month for residential customers and $17.80 more for small commercial customers as per the projections provided by CPS and reported by Fox San Antonio, multiply that by the countless days of San Antonio's future, and the sum is a hefty price to pay for progress.