CPS Energy must meet demands before raising rates

by Nancy Nusser
Texas VOX

SAN ANTONIO — The newly formed Re-Energize San Antonio Coalition called on CPS Energy to meet a set of conditions before following through with an October rate hike.

Describing the hike as an increase that will "unfairly burden residential taxpayers,"coalition members called on CPS to take steps to reduce pollution, waste and costs for consumers.

The coalition presented its demands in a petition handed off to the utility during the Monday, Sept. 9 CPS Rate Case Input Session held at the TriPoint Grantham Center.

"We oppose the rate hike because it promotes unsustainable growth, driven by dirty energy, on the shoulders of the poor and working class folks who already pay the most for energy costs relative to income and quality of housing stock,"said Dr. Marisol Cortez, scholar-in-residence at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center.

"CPS must make energy conservation and efficiency a top priority,"said Alice Canestaro- Garcia, from Energia Mia, a grassroots organization working on energy issues.

"City policies and CPS internal policies and budgets must prioritize energy conservation and discourage unsustainable growth and the waste of energy. Costs should be distributed fairly. They shouldn't fall disproportionately on the backs of low-income customers and small businesses,"she said.

"The rate structure should include multiple tiers that encourage energy efficiency,"said Dr. Meredith McGuire, a professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Trinity University. "CPS should be proactive in rapidly implementing a much higher energy efficiency goal. And increased revenue from the rate change should be earmarked for further subsidizing energy efficiency programs for low-income families."

The coalition called on CPS to make stronger efforts to use renewable and environmentally friendly energy production.

"CPS's commitment to retire the old Deely coal burning power plants by 2018 or earlier should be put in writing, since the community is continuing to suffer from its pollution,"said Karen Hadden, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.

"The existing two nuclear reactors are set to retire in 2027 and 2028, and repairs and replacement fuel costs are skyrocketing. Instead of giving these aging, increasingly expensive reactors 20 additional years to operate, cleaner, safer generation should be put in place.

The Re-Energize San Antonio Coalition includes Energia Mia, The Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, People's Power Coalition, the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, Public Citizen's Texas office, and Sierra Club.

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