San Antonio-based CPS Energy is on the brink of implementing another rate increase as its board of trustees voted 5-0 in favor of a 4.25% hike over its base rates. If greenlit by the San Antonio City Council, this move is set to raise the average customer’s monthly bill by approximately $4.45, starting from February 1, 2024. The decision has sparked both support and criticism, with officials emphasizing the necessity of the increase for technological upgrades and environmental improvements, while critics argue that it places an additional burden on low-income residents.

This marks the second consecutive year that CPS Energy has sought a rate increase. In March 2022, the City Council approved a 3.85% hike – the first in eight years. Now, facing the need for further revenue to fund crucial upgrades, accommodate the city’s growth and transition from coal to natural gas, CPS Energy is requesting an additional 4.25% increase, aiming to generate an extra $85 million in revenue.

Reasons for the Rate Increase:
CPS Energy officials assert that the rate hike is essential to address several pressing issues. Firstly, funds are required to upgrade outdated technology, ensuring the utility remains efficient and reliable. Secondly, the increase is intended to keep pace with the city’s rapid growth, maintaining infrastructure and service quality. Lastly, CPS Energy aims to transition a coal-burning power plant to cleaner natural gas, aligning with environmental sustainability goals.

Public Reaction and Concerns:
While the utility argues the necessity of the rate increase, critics argue that the move comes too soon and will disproportionately affect low-income residents. The concerns revolve around the potential financial strain on vulnerable households, especially considering this is the second increase within two years. The criticism underscores the delicate balance between ensuring the financial viability of the utility and safeguarding the affordability of essential services for all residents.

Council Decision and Future Prospects:
The proposed rate increase now heads to the San Antonio City Council for consideration, with deliberations expected to take place this Thursday. If approved, the new rates will go into effect on February 1, 2024. This decision will likely shape the financial landscape for CPS Energy and its consumers for the coming years, setting the stage for potential future increases, as officials have indicated plans to seek an additional 5.5% rate hike within the next two years.

As CPS Energy awaits the San Antonio City Council’s decision on the proposed rate increase, the community is divided on the necessity and timing of such a financial adjustment. The outcome will not only impact the average consumer’s monthly bills but also contribute to the ongoing dialogue about balancing economic considerations with the need for technological advancements and environmental responsibility in the energy sector.