SAN ANTONIO – (June 16, 2020) – CPS Energy received the American Public Power Association (APPA) Sue Kelly Community Service Award during APPA’s Public Power Connect: Virtual Summit & Business Meeting, recently. The award recognizes “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate the commitment of the utility and its employees to the community.
“CPS Energy is proud to receive the Sue Kelly Community Service Award from the American Public Power Association. This award solidifies our commitment to our customers and the hard work our employees do each day to make a difference in our community,” said Rudy Garza, Chief Customer Engagement Officer for CPS Energy. “Our customers are the heartbeat of our community and the reason we exist. Our goal is to make it easy for our customers to connect with us while providing the energy they need to make a positive impact on their lives.”
As the largest community-owned utility company in the nation, CPS Energy has an elevated sense of corporate responsibility rooted in its 160-year history of powering San Antonio. In addition to volunteering tens of thousands of hours per year, collecting a ton of school supplies for underprivileged students, and regularly topping $1 million in United Way contributions, APPA highlighted two of CPS Energy’s programs for this award recognition. The Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP) and the Customer Response Unit (CRU) were recognized as programs that go above and beyond providing power to the community.
Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP)
In 2002, CPS Energy partnered with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to establish the Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP). REAP was specifically created to assist struggling families and allow their neighbors to lend a helping hand for the elderly, medically dependent, and low-income families with young children. Since the partnership began, CPS Energy has given over $1 million annually to the fund and provides over 7,000 families a year with support for their energy services.
To support REAP, the CPS Energy Corporate Responsibility team developed GrillsGiving, a family-friendly way to engage the community while raising money for REAP through a competitive barbecue cook-off. The fifth annual event in November 2019 raised more than $73,000, a 128 percent increase over the previous year. CPS Energy demonstrates how the power of partnerships and working together can positively impact the lives of others.
Customer Response Unit (CRU)
CPS Energy is not a narrowly focused energy company. More broadly, the company also operates as a partner and supporter of the community. It is for that reason that the CPS Energy community engagement team pushed its proactive outreach to the next level with the establishment of the mobile Customer Response Unit (CRU) in 2013 — to make customer service more accessible, convenient and mobile. CRU is dedicated to increasing community awareness of and encouraging enrollment in assistance programs, educating customers about energy efficiency and safety, and working directly with customers with unique needs. Using a holistic case management approach, CRU members meet customers at their home, community center or elected officials’ offices. Rather than simply resolving the customers’ utility needs and closing the case, the CRU team advocates and resolves issues for customers related to utility assistance, food security, pet care, housing support and any other needs.
CPS Energy continues to search for innovative ways to help customers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the utility suspended energy disconnects and is waiving late fees on unpaid balances for customers who participate in a CPS Energy payment plan. The utility is also continuing to raise funds for REAP to help customers pay their energy bills during these challenging and unprecedented times.
For more information on REAP along with other customer assistance programs, visit https://www.cpsenergy.com/assistance.
About CPS Energy
Established in 1860, CPS Energy is the nation’s largest public power, natural gas and electric company, providing safe, reliable, and competitively-priced service to 840,750 electric and 352,585 natural gas customers in San Antonio and portions of seven adjoining counties. Our customers’ combined energy bills rank among the lowest of the nation’s 20 largest cities – while generating $7 billion in revenue for the City of San Antonio for more than seven decades. As a trusted and strong community partner, we continuously focus on job creation, economic development and educational investment. True to our People First philosophy, we are powered by our skilled workforce, whose commitment to the community is demonstrated through our employees’ volunteerism in giving back to our city and programs aimed at bringing value to our customers. CPS Energy is among the top public power wind energy buyers in the nation and number one in Texas for solar generation.