With a welcoming by former Texas Legislative Representative and CPS Energy retiree, Joe Farias (pictured at the podium), CPS Energy President & CEO, Paula Gold Williams, delivered her State of the Energy update on Wednesday to a sold-out luncheon of local business leaders and elected officials. In partnership with the West San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Gold-Williams spoke to the complexities of the energy industry’s changing business model.
“Thanks to CPS Energy, you can still rely on your lights to come on every time you flip the switch. We have been a reliable energy provider for 157 years, 75 of which have been ownership by the community. But technology is changing at a rapid pace,” says Gold-Williams, “and demands for energy will create new challenges for the industry.
“We’re thinking about how we can bring solutions for power closer to you. We don’t just generate power at our plants. We also help you generate power through solar and other new solutions, to help you control and conserve your power, and maybe, in the future, even let you broker your power.”
Gold-Williams has seen how fast technology can change an industry. She recalls the popularity of the photo-finishing business. “You bought film, put it in your camera and took photos. Then you put the film back in the canister, drove it to a store to drop it off, and eagerly waited a week to see the product. We thought that was the most awesome technology ever,” she laughs.
“Today, we can take photos on a phone and delete them at will. The energy industry may transition in much the same way, and CPS Energy is already preparing for the possibilities.”
“I can’t look at our company for how and what it’s been for 157 years. I have to look at it from where people want it to be in the future,” she says. “People want solutions at their fingertips, when they want it and they want it to be easy.”
Gold-Williams doesn’t see CPS Energy becoming a technology company. But it will be ready to partner with companies like Google and Amazon to make their new solutions work better for our community.
“We can’t tell you exactly what our next technologies will be,” she says. “There will be more solar, more wind, and energy storage. We will make it a priority to process those options and bring them to market quickly. Our goal is to be your energy expert and advisor, as well as your service provider, to help you aggregate technology in the right way. And of course, always keeping a sharp eye out for our customers.”
She says CPS Energy and San Antonio already are seeing the benefits of working with New Energy Economy (NEE) partners on technologies like solar power and LED lighting. “For example, we’re wrapping up a 450-megawatt solar initiative that utilizes a variety of technologies. At the same time, as many as 30,000 energy-saving LED lights are replacing old sodium lights and making local streets brighter.”
“We want to provide a high standard level of service, and get our partners to tweak that service to meet our customers’ needs,” she says.
Gold-Williams wrapped up her talk by telling the audience, “We are here to power your dreams because dreams deserve to see the light of day.”
CPS Energy’s roots reach back to 1860 with the start of gas service in San Antonio. Various name changes and decades later, the City of San Antonio purchased what was then the San Antonio Public Service Company in 1942. This year, CPS Energy is celebrating 75 years of City ownership.