City Utilities
3:22 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

CPS Energy Makes Case For Rate Hike With Examples From 2010

If a proposed rate hike is approved by San Antonio City Council, households can expect to pay an additional $5.19 per month on their CPS Energy bills.

On Wednesday CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby delivered the first case for a rate hike to the council.

"This is a good process," Beneby said. "This is democracy at work. We should have to explain the rate increases to the public. I’m just hopeful that we’ll be successful but I wouldn’t want to handicap where it might or might not end up."

Beneby wants it to end up at 4.75 percent, a rate that he said still keeps theirs among the lowest in Texas and the lowest of the top major 20 cities in the country.

The proposed rate hike will raise an additional $66 million annually, so what are they going to do with all that money?

Beneby said most of it is to help provide for the growing number of people they have to serve, which means upgrading equipment and building new substations and infrastructure.

The amount that the municipally-owned utility pays out in bonuses has been well publicized and makes some weary of the proposed rate hike. But in a blog post on Tuesday, CPS Energy announced that they will be changing their bonus structure to reduce payouts to employees and increase money put into the Residential Energy Assistance Program.

The council is approaching the proposed increase with caution. District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg said he and the council need to hear justifications for the proposed increase, and Beneby and CPS Energy are already making their case.

The utility has launched a new "Working for your neighborhood" video campaign to show San Antonio residents the types of projects that have been completed with money from the 2010 rate increase.

The videos point to work such as improving gas lines on Blanco and Bandera streets, replacing 48-year-old transformers at existing substations, building new substations for new service areas and upgrading transmission lines to more efficiently deliver power and provide reliable service.

The videos are broken up into areas of the city to highlight specific projects.