As a community, we have faced many challenges; a global pandemic, a record-breaking hot summer, and the continuous rise in natural gas prices. With everything we’ve faced, many of us have needed help to make ends meet. CPS Energy and our community partners have worked together every day to help the people in our community get back on track with bill assistance and everyday necessities. For instance, our Customer Response Unit (CRU) has been working diligently to share awareness with our community on how to enroll in assistance programs, educating customers about energy efficiency and safety, and working directly with customers with unique needs.
CPS Energy recently invited our 100-plus community partners to our 5th annual Partners in Power event, a workshop designed to strengthen and expand the network and exchange information with partner agencies to help better serve all of our customers.
“The Partners in Power event brings non-profit partners from across the city together to learn about CPS Energy and how we support our community,” said Jesse Hernandez, Senior Director of Equity, Community Strategy & Engagement at CPS Energy. “It also allows time for non-profits to network and share ideas on how best to support our mutual customers with the end goal of creating a better quality of life for customers in our community that may need a little extra help.”
The CPS Energy Community Engagement team performs outreach through the CRU as well as the Casa Verde home weatherization program. Through our community partners, CPS Energy has been able to reach a wider span of customers in different parts of the San Antonio area. The partnerships are important because many of our customers do not know that they can receive assistance from multiple organizations.
The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC), San Antonio Food Bank, and the City of San Antonio’s Human Services Department attended the event as community partners.
“The partnership with CPS Energy is a win-win,” said Gilbert Martinez with UTHSC. “People are coming into our office for medical assistance and can also get assistance from CPS Energy, so it is almost like a one-stop shop for the community.”
Keynote speaker and District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda commended the partners for their community impact.
“A lot of the essence of who we are, are our non-profits,” said Councilwoman Cabello Havrda. “You are the heart and the key to preserving the San Antonio culture. I believe this is what this celebration is about, all these partnerships and the beautiful city we all help. We are all headed in the same direction, and I want to be sure I am supporting all of you. I am very moved by all the work each of you does and am thankful for it.”
“This partnership has been very resourceful,” added Brenda Rodriguez, Community Services Specialist at the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services-Utility Assistance Program. “We have been able to help a lot of families with their utility bills, we have helped three times the amount in the history of San Antonio through the assistance programs. Especially through the pandemic this has given them the extra boost to give our community a chance to get back on their feet.”
The San Antonio Food Bank is another great example of an agency helping our residents through a variety of programs it offers.
“We are fortunate to have CPS Energy as a partner to the San Antonio Food Bank,” said Mike Rivas, the agency’s Director for Food for a Lifetime program. “The CPS Energy team sets up a table to greet clients at the San Antonio Food Bank, in our lobby in our client services department. This allows our same clients to be able to have access to the programs CPS Energy offers. We are very fortunate and privileged to have the team there. Our clients have shared their gratitude for the convenience that they can come to our location and there are other services in addition to what the San Antonio Food Bank offers.”
The power truly is in our partners. With them, we have been able to help many customers with different assistance programs.
One unique example lies with a veteran who had fallen behind in his energy bill by $10,000. The CRU team connected him with nearly $10,000 in assistance from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and the Bexar County Utility Assistance Program. CRU then placed the customer on an installment plan and enrolled him in the Affordability Discount Program, taking the customer from what seemed like impossible debt to a manageable resolution. It’s one of the many examples of how CPS Energy, working with our partners, helps change the lives of our customers every day.
If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, visit Customer Assistance Programs or call us at 210.353.2222.
For additional community assistance programs, check out the following partner links: