Partners in Power: Leveraging Partnerships for Community Impact

Relationship building is essential in any business. For CPS Energy, creating strategic partnerships and collaborating with other organizations is vital to our goals and to the success of our initiatives. That is one of the reasons our Community Engagement Customer Response Unit (CRU) has built a strong network of partnerships across the community.

CRU was created in 2013 after identifying the need to make customer service more accessible, convenient and mobile. Today, services provided by CRU have expanded to provide more value by rendering themselves as a community and educational resource. CRU team members are visible in San Antonio neighborhoods bringing all of CPS Energy’s capabilities directly to customers and helping resolve customers’ complex service and/or account issues, in addition to increasing public safety education.

The Public Engagement team hosted their 2nd Annual Partners in Power event last week, a workshop designed to strengthen and expand their network and exchange information with partner agencies to help better serve our customers.

“Collaboration is an important part of serving our community because working together, we get further,” said District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D. “We all have the power of one, we have the ability to change a life, we have the ability to help someone in need but when we work together, we multiply that effort – that’s the power of partnerships.”

To make our community a better place to live, work and play where people are healthy, safe, and cared for takes work so partnering effectively with other agencies is essential to doing what we call PeopleFirst!

Photo: District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, Ph.D. stresses the importance of collaboration – a key part of the puzzle when serving our community.

People First is in our DNA,” said Maria Garcia, Vice President of Community Engagement & Corporate Responsibility for CPS Energy. ”This is a wonderful event because not only are we able to invest in our team and in our customers but also in the agencies we partner with. This event let us see how we are able to collaborate and make it more seamless and a much better experience for our customers.”

Initially, the CRU team partnered with the county and city partners but then learned of other agencies that could help CPS Energy provide a more holistic approach. CRU team members have been very diligent in chasing leads and establishing partnerships to try to better serve CPS Energy’s customers who need assistance with food, medicine, or even pet care. “We just don’t go into a home and look at it from an electric and natural gas perspective. We look at the whole family and how we can better serve them,” Garcia said.

These partnerships, however, didn’t materialize overnight. They took time and effort and have proven that when people reach across the lines, they tap into new ideas and resources and create new partnerships that can help them achieve their goals more effectively and with fewer resources.

One organization can’t do it alone so it’s the fundamental reason why we make use of external expertise. “We have built partnerships with agencies like Bexar County, DHS, SAMMinistries, AACOG, Catholic Charities and other different agencies in the community that we know can provide services to our customers,” said Community Relations Advocate Sandy Maudet. “We care about our customers and we want to be able to meet needs and help them succeed and by having these partnerships we are educating ourselves on what opportunities and resources they can provide so when doing a home visit we are able to provide information and resources to our customers.”

With multiple organizations serving the same population, it is critical that we work together to build pathways to opportunity for all.

“I am hoping to make connections with other people in the community that provide resources to the under served, to make sure that I know where to refer people to if someone comes in with a special need that we don’t provide,” said Jo Estrada, Community Resource Director for Bexar County. “We want to strengthen our community and in doing that, we want to make sure that we are aware of all the resources that are available.”

Through Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP), a CPS Energy program, Estrada noted Bexar Country has been able to serve over 500 families this year so far.

Collective action is an effective way to increase impact and over time create new opportunities for building strong, safe, healthy and vital communities and a sustainable future together. The connections formed daily and the Partners in Power event will help us all grow to new levels.

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