CPS Energy is sending out February bills soon but will not include charges related to the winter storm, the municipally owned utility announced Friday.
However, it has not ruled out those expenses for the future.
“CPS Energy is currently assessing the validity of the additional fuel and purchased power costs from the winter storm and is currently not passing them through to customers,” the company said in a prepared statement.
CPS Energy will begin to release February bills on March 8, but billing cycles could keep some customers from seeing theirs until March 13.
The energy utility suspended customer billing on Feb. 19 in an effort to exclude exorbitant costs related to the storm. It also said it wanted to ensure that billed usage is based on actual meter reads “and not estimations.”
The announcement included additional details about the company’s attempts to mitigate costs for consumers.
No late fees will be charged for February bills. Late fees have also been waived for customers who participate in a payment plan.
CPS said it expects to provide credits to customers who were the “most impacted” by the storm. The company said it plans to release details about those credits in the coming weeks.
The company also said it was willing to work with customers to discuss their bills and to set up payment plans if necessary.
Autopay, temporarily suspended, was reinstated Feb. 26.
“We know our community is concerned about their bills and we want them to know we’re here to help and protect them,” CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams stated. “While we must and will pay all justified and legitimate business costs, our CPS Energy team will continue to fight to maintain our commitment to affordability.”
Utility officials said earlier this week that costs from the winter storm could hit $1 billion.
At a special meeting Monday, Gold-Williams said the total price tag included $800 million in fuel charges – natural gas prices spiked as much as 16,000% for a period – as well as $200 million likely owed to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to pay for surplus power it received. Its own power plants and natural gas suppliers struggled in the freezing temperatures to pump out enough electricity for the city.
The utility’s board at that meeting unanimously agreed to allow its staff to seek $500 million in short-term loans to avoid steep bill spikes.
The company has opened other fronts to drive down costs from the storm that left more than 4 million Texas households without power.
The company has said in meetings and press releases that it is seeking financial relief at the federal and state level, and is talking with legislators about the potential of government intervention. It is also hoping to negotiate with fuel suppliers and ERCOT.
CPS customers can find more information on their account, or cancel autopay, by calling 210-353-6110.
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