CPS Energy celebrates 80 years of City ownership and service to our community
On any given day of the week, parents can be seen walking their kids into Lou Hamilton Community Center at Lady Bird Johnson Park for basketball games, arts & crafts or dance classes. The activities are among some of the low-cost family options for kids to stay physically active, develop early talents, or to simply just keep busy.
While the kids dive into playful fun, CPS Energy employees are not far away, keeping busy themselves working on company vehicles, training or heading out to provide service to a customer. The two groups are within a half-mile or so of each other and neither is aware of the other. They both are on separate parcels of a 300-plus acre piece of property owned by CPS Energy. And, while the company is providing good-paying jobs for the employees, it’s also produced a prime spot for community recreation by leasing several dozen acres of the northeast side property to the City of San Antonio 50 years ago for LBJ Park.
The park and a future trail way (part of Salado Creek Greenway), are shining examples of the benefits that come with public power, a golden treasure that began in our community eight decades ago.
On October 24, 1942, the City of San Antonio purchased what’s now CPS Energy for $34 million. It was said to be the deal of the century and one might agree, 80 years later, given that the return on our City’s investment to date* has been $9 billion.
Being a municipally owned utility is part of what makes CPS Energy unique. Municipally owned utilities work to serve their community day in and day out. Here are just a few ways we provide value to our community that we work to keep the power on for:
One of the benefits of being a municipally owned utility is the circulation of dollars that are put right back into our own community. Up to 14 percent of CPS Energy’s revenues go to the City of San Antonio, a direct benefit to the City as a result of its $34 million investment. In our most recent fiscal year (2021), we contributed $364 million to our owner. That money is put into the City’s general fund – a fund that is used to support vital community services such as police and fire protection, public safety, streets and infrastructure improvements, parks, libraries and a variety of other assets that are important to our community. It makes up more than a fourth of the City’s general fund budget.
During a recent City budget meeting, City Manager Erik Walsh commented that most cities only have two streams of income but, because CPS Energy is City-owned, San Antonio has three.
As we’re all aware, the last couple of years have not been easy. From navigating a global pandemic to weathering Winter Storm Uri and inflation, the financial pressure our residential and commercial customers have had to deal with is not lost on us. In the wake of the pandemic, CPS Energy’s outreach to our customers grew tremendously. Through our customer outreach response effort, or CORE, we proactively contacted tens of thousands of residential and commercial customers starting in June of 2020 to check on their wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. CORE connected customers with bill assistance resources offered by the utility, as well as other resources available through local government and community agencies.
CPS Energy works with over 100 community partners to offer assistance to customers in need. As of June 2020, CPS Energy has connected more than 190,000 customers with more than $85.7 million in assistance. This personal and empathetic outreach has helped those in our community in some of their greatest times of need – an invaluable benefit of being part of public power. In addition to the CORE effort, CPS Energy teams and members of our Customer Response Unit (CRU) are in and around the community, participating in hundreds of events annually to connect community members with assistance.
As a municipally owned utility, United Way is a cause near and dear to our heart. We are aware of the impact donations make to improve our communities and the resources available to our neighbors. For years, CPS Energy has been a major participant in United Way, ranking as one of San Antonio’s top contributors in the utility space. Even during the pandemic, over 3,000 CPS Energy employees and retirees made donations to organizations of their choosing. CPS Energy is excited to once again participate in the United Way campaign this year. A fun fact about CPS Energy’s participation in United Way? 100 percent of the money that is donated comes directly from CPS Energy employees and retirees. Giving to the community we are proud to serve is one of our greatest honors and contributions.
A fun fact about CPS Energy’s participation in United Way? 100 percent of the money that is donated comes directly from CPS Energy employees and retirees.
The backbone of CPS Energy is our people and one thing that makes them so special is their eagerness to volunteer in the community they work to serve 24/7/365. While volunteer opportunities were put on pause as we worked with our community to get through the pandemic, the 2019 year boasted 22,700 volunteer hours from 1,281 CPS Energy employees, or more than a third of our team. As our team and our world is coming out of the pandemic, our volunteer efforts are ramping up again with employees participating in volunteer opportunities such as Meals on Wheels, Stuff the Bus and others with partners such as United Way and the San Antonio Food Bank. CPS Energy is proud to work to give back to the community we are dedicated to serving.
These are just a few snapshots of the value CPS Energy delivers to our community along with the primary focus of providing reliable, competitively-priced, and more environmentally sustainable power. At CPS Energy, it’s our honor to be owned by the City of San Antonio for 80 years and we look forward to continuing to work as one team to serve our community.