Right before Christmas, we had a secret Ms. Santa walk into one of customer service centers and plop down $400 for CPS Energy gift cards – eight of them worth $50 each. With what had to be a twinkle in her eye and joy in her heart, she asked us to share the cards with customers in need.
Imagine the surprise on the faces of seven customers, including a couple who were getting ready to welcome a new baby to a literally warm home and a woman who happened to be the last customer of the day and received the last two gift cards.
I spoke to that woman who said our anonymous gift-giver just doesn’t know the blessing she was that day. The grateful recipient is now inspired to pay it forward. Talk about a gift that keeps giving.
And, here’s another. A couple of years ago, we made a business decision to invest the corpus – or principal amount – of the Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP) locally with ACCION Texas. Today, dozens of local small business owners are growing because of the financial loans they receive from ACCION through REAP funds. And, CPS Energy customers benefit as the interest from those loans is reinvested in REAP, which provided bill assistance for roughly 9,000 area families last year.
You might be thinking, ‘Why give ACCION money to loan to small businesses? Why doesn’t all the money go directly to help CPS Energy customers?’
Think of the REAP fund like a nonprofit foundation. There always has to be a base or core fund to help the foundation run and do all of the great things it does to help people. Without it, the good stuff doesn’t happen.
So, the principal of the REAP fund has always been invested to make money for the part of the program that provides bill assistance. Investing it locally means all the money now stays within the Greater San Antonio community to help customers and local businesses.
Check out the video above to see how one business owner took advantage of a loan to keep reusable items out of our landfills.