Council Punts on Hiring an Independent Advocate to Protect Ratepayers
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council today followed the lead of the CPS Energy Board of Trustees by voting to approve the utility’s second rate increase in two years. The final vote took place despite calls for the City to hire a consumer advocate who could provide an independent and expert assessment of CPS Energy’s requested increase. Public Citizen and some council members supported the appointment of an advocate.
DeeDee Belmares, clean energy advocate for Public Citizen, issued the following statement:
“This latest increase must be the last without the involvement of an independent residential consumer advocate. Such advocates are standard practice for other utilities in Texas and nationwide. They are experts who provide another layer of scrutiny on proposed increases and make recommendations to align rates with policy goals and fairness. Though city leaders missed an opportunity today, they get another chance in two years when CPS Energy says it will request a third increase. The City Council should move quickly to approve a resolution that requires a consumer advocate in rate cases. CPS Energy trustees should also start reforming rates immediately to encourage conservation and discourage waste. Both measures must be in place as soon as possible and before CPS Energy again asks residents for more of their money.
“CPS Energy and the City Council should be mindful that as of February 1 and in the middle of winter, CPS Energy customers will pay more to keep their homes warm. Unfortunately, that higher rate won’t come with the certainty that every possible step was taken to ensure the 4.25% increase is fair or appropriate. Signaling to ratepayers to simply accept another price hike is a quick way to erode trust.”