San Antonio: District 5 Councilmember on Decision to Vote No on CPS Energy’s Rate Increase

CONTACT: Amador Salazar, 210.207.8290

SAN ANTONIO (January 13, 2021) – Today, District 5 City Councilmember Teri Castillo voted against CPS Energy's rate increase and the ordinance authorizing CPS Energy to establish a regulatory asset to pay for Winter Weather fuel costs associated with the Winter Storm and stated the following:

"Today I voted against CPS Energy's proposed rate request of 3.85%, and the regulatory asset to pay for fuel costs associated with Winter Storm Uri. This decision was not easy, but necessary because the proposal failed to resolve the deep inequities within the current rate structure. Instead of placing the brunt of CPS Energy's need for financial solvency on the little guy, we desperately need large commercial and industrial rate payers to pay their fair share.

Before COVID-19, many families in District 5 and across San Antonio were living paycheck to paycheck. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise more families will continue to struggle to keep the lights on. At one point, CPS Energy had over 182,000 past-due customers, and more than a third were eligible for disconnection. When utilities are disconnected for non-payment that becomes a legitimate reason to issue a Notice to Vacate.  Moreover, when this rate hike goes into effect, San Antonio residents will on average pay more for electricity than Houston and Austin residents. I am less concerned with the difficult conversations on the dais and CPS boardrooms and more concerned with the difficult conversations that continue to take place around our residents' dinner tables.

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For clarity, opposing this increase makes no reduction to our City's General Fund, nor does it mean that CPS Energy's annual payment obligation to the City would decrease. Numerous factors can impact credit ratings such as frequent changes in leadership, low public confidence, more past-due bills from the rate increase, and the negative impacts of the pandemic.

As elected leaders we are the last line of defense for our residents. The commitments made by CPS Energy around the rate structure and other issues raised by Council Colleagues are not codified or legally binding, and for these reasons I could not vote in favor."

Filed Under: Government, City

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