San Antonio: District 6 Councilwoman Calls for a Detailed Audit of CPS Energy to Build Trust and Provide Transparency

CONTACT: Victor Landa

SAN ANTONIO (January 7, 2022) – Today Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda sent a formal request to CPS Energy Interim CEO, Rudy Garza, and the CPS Energy Board of Directors, requesting the municipally-owned utility to conduct a third party audit and provide a public budget and processes document that examines, in detail, the organization's finances and management practices.

CPS Energy has asked the City Council to approve a rate request that would increase its base rate by 3.85 percent.

This has been the subject of a community-wide conversation for several months, and three things have become clear: there is a palpable lack of community trust toward CPS Energy; the COVID pandemic and Winter storm Uri have placed CPS Energy in a challenging financial position; and there is an urgent need for critical infrastructure upgrades.

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"In a municipality-owned utility, it is the rate payers who carry the burden of setting standards and providing the monetary means to meet expectations through paying their utility bill," said the Councilwoman, who sits on the Council's Public Utilities Committee. "CPS Energy is a community asset and we must work together to achieve a delicate balance of trust and accountability."

CPS Energy leadership has stated that in 18 months the utility will have a plan to close its two coal-powered generators; that the rate increase will provide infrastructure upgrades; that it'll pay for the costs incurred during Uri; that the most vulnerable citizens will not endure an unfair cost burden; that San Antonio will be better for it; and that we should trust that all of these things will happen.

The CPS leadership has a challenge before it to regain the community's trust, yet there is no doubt that Rudy Garza and his management team can provide the leadership and cultural changes that need to happen.

"There's an adage that says 'Trust in God, but tie your horse,'" said the Councilwoman. "I've listened to constituents and to the reasoning for a rate increase. I am considering voting in favor of the request but will do so with the transparency of an exhaustive audit and the scrutiny to the Public Utilities Committee. In the end it's a delicate matter of openness and transparency."

Filed Under: Government, City

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