A Long Overdue Overhaul of San Antonio Energy
By Statement of DeeDee Belmares, Climate Justice Organizer, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Note: Our Power PAC, a coalition of progressive organizations in San Antonio, Texas, unveiled a petition drive Tuesday to change the charter of gas and electric company CPS Energy and give more control over the publicly-owned utility to the mayor and San Antonio City Council. The proposed charter would make CPS a standalone department of the city and allow the city council to set the CPS manager’s salary. The proposed charter also would require a shutdown of the polluting Spruce Coal Plant by 2030. The petition requires the signature of 20,000 San Antonio residents for placement on the May 2021 ballot.
CPS Energy’s board of trustees have had too much power in deciding the fate of San Antonio energy policy for too long and have ignored public concerns about critical issues such as Spruce Coal plant pollution, energy generation and rate structure. These factors all have serious adverse effects and implications for the community’s health and economic well-being.
Pollution from the Spruce Coal Plant, which CPS Energy could keep operational until 2060, is damaging San Antonio residents’ health. CPS customers don’t have a voice in choosing between dirty or clean energy to meet their power needs, even though renewable energy is becoming cheaper even though renewable energy is now cheaper than continuing to operate existing coal plants like Spruce. San Antonio residents also have no say in CPS Energy’s rate structure.
This charter amendment will deliver a long overdue overhaul of the nation’s largest municipally owned energy utility, turning it into one that truly works for Texans.