Public input session key to transparency and collaboration

On the evening of November 16 members of our Board of Trustees hosted a virtual public input session.

CPS Energy has designed these sessions to receive feedback from our community on various topics critical to CPS Energy’s future. This approach allows the Board to hear perspectives from various stakeholders and consider their feedback which serves as a beacon for charting a path forward in our community’s collective future. Our Board of Trustees often hosts public input sessions on various topics. However, the global pandemic has altered our approach from face-to-face to virtual meetings.

We want to thank everyone who participated in this virtual meeting. We are grateful for the passion, honesty, and powerful messages they delivered directly to our Board of Trustees. Participants included residential customers and individuals representing multiple Chambers of Commerce, the Sierra Club, Texas Rising and diverse industry organizations. All brought insights and viewpoints for our Board to consider as CPS Energy plans our future energy landscape.

The meeting began with our President & CEO Paula Gold-Williams speaking about CPS Energy’s Flexible PathSM, a proposed rate advisory committee, a COVID-19 financial impact update, an update on service disconnections and more. Her presentation was followed by input from members of the public.

Paula’s presentation provided the following insight into our planning when she said, We need to stay flexible and be on a Flexible Path to get to new and better and cleaner solutions. We need to be open. We can’t just do the same thing we did before. Every major decision needs to be about what our options are. What’s the best thing we can do in terms of driving cleaner air, cleaner environment? So, we focused on that, and the Reliability aspect and then on the Customer Affordability aspect.

Although each speaker brought their own flair and thoughts, the public comments all had one theme in common; everyone agreed that CPS Energy is here to serve the community. Our Guiding Pillars of Customer Affordability, Reliability, and Environmental Responsibility ensure we do that while remaining focused on our future.

We had 42 registered speakers and 250 participants listening by either phone or live stream. The full transcript and audio recording of the public meeting are available on our website. Below are some highlights of the comments received.

I ask that you move forward with the rate advisory committee formation and that you make that a transparent and very citizen-involved committee that can also make decisions on what generation sources are used. I ask that you move forward on solar, wind, storage, community solar, move forward quickly on these. I think that they are critical for jobs in our community and we’ll keep us, [a] clean breathing environment. – Alan Montemayor, CPS Energy Customer

CPS [Energy] is a business partner to San Antonio residents, and businesses, providing 14% to the city budget. Changing the management model to one run by the city council would potentially lead to an increased cost and diminished response time to customers and growth. CPS Energy has always been progressive and forward-thinking, having created programs to improve consumer usage, enough such that CPS Energy has been able to delay the construction of an entire energy producing plant.” – Klaus Weiswurm, local business owner and former chairman of CPS Energy Citizen’s Advisory Committee

For more than 900 small local minorityowned businesses, affordability is a top priority for them as they run their daily operations and look to increase their bottom line. CPS Energy provides our small businesses with affordable, reliable energy to operate and effectively run their business. In fact, CPS Energy offers some of the lowest rates among top 10 largest U.S. cities in the country. In addition, CPS Energy has not had a rate of increase in over six years. CPS Energy is continuously at the top of its class when it comes to affordability and reliability, and this can it be attributed to the leadership of the CPS Energy CEO and Board of Trustees.” – Martin Gutierrez, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

I’m asking that CPS Energy be transparent with its customers and show us how closing the spruce coal plant by 2030 would force a rate increase. It was good to hear today after a board of trustee meeting that the rate advisory, committee, will finally be voted on, possibly in December. The environmental Community has worked hard to give our recommendations to CPS Energy.” – DeeDee Belmares, Public Citizen

At a hundred six years old, you can imagine we have an aging infrastructure, so what is important for us from a partnership with CPS [Energy] is reliable power. It obviously allows us to operate; our life-support systems depend on this reliable power and allows our species to remain healthy. Many of the animals in our care are endangered or even extinct in the wild. We appreciate affordability, it allows us to dedicate more funds to our mission. I would like to see us grow this relationship as partners and together, we can help educate the community on the impact of energy use, the importance of energy conservation, and all that CPS [Energy] is doing to benefit our planet.” Tim Morrow, CEO San Antonio Zoo

We understand that renewable energy resources, such as solar power, are intermittent and need to be firmed up. Whether that’s with new battery projects, existing natural gas-fired power plants, or some other technology. So, let’s get to it. The flexible bunch…the FlexPOWER BundleSM RFP – such a well-designed strategy deserves a well implemented RFP. We strongly believe that clean energy is price competitive with fossil fuel energy resources, and the FlexPOWER Bundle RFP will prove that to be true. We have one suggestion for the RFP and that is, in short, accelerate the to the timelines for new solar contracts.” – Timothy Heinle, Vice President of Business Development for OCI Solar Power

Again, we thank everyone for their participation. Your commitment to ensuring we are accountable and conducting business in the most prudent way possible is welcome. We expect and accept that our community holds us accountable for how we manage this utility; it is paramount to our success.  We cannot be successful if we are not driven by seeking input and inspiration from our customers and community.   

It is through these conversations with our community that building on our Flexible Path is strengthened and our strategies for our community’s energy future is able to evolve to meet the expectations of our customers.  CPS Energy is focused on action and we appreciate our customers’ partnership in this journey.

If you would like to make comments or provide our Board with feedback, you can do so by sending an email to feedback@cpsenergy.com. Please visit cpsenergy.com/flexiblepath for more information on how you can continue engaging in dialogue regarding our collective energy future.

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.

John Moreno