CPS Energy’s Rate Advisory Committee members have spoken, and the majority are in favor of San Antonio’s electric utility seeking a 3.85% base rate increase in January.

After seven months of studying rate design, the committee’s members were given the chance to vote either “yes” or “no” Thursday if they supported the recommendation of a base rate increase for CPS Energy’s upcoming fiscal year. Of the committee’s 20 members, 6 voted no while 2 abstained.

The committee also voted affirmatively and almost unanimously that CPS Energy should create a regulatory asset to spread out the $418 million already-paid costs of Winter Storm Uri across ratepayers’ bills for 25 years. If approved by council, customers will pay roughly an additional $1.26 per month towards this debt.

Members were given a chance to read the written comments they will submit to the CPS Energy’s board of trustees and to the city council. Some expressed frustration at the committee’s process, while a minority voiced opposition to the rate increase.

Interim CEO Rudy Garza thanked everyone for their work.

“Whether you support [the rate increase] or not, doesn’t matter to me,” Garza said. “You gave your input and that’s what the RAC is about, and I appreciate that very much.”

The committee’s votes and written comments will now go to the CPS Energy’s board of trustees, who will vote on the rate increase and regulatory asset on Jan. 10. The City Council will vote on Jan. 13.

The 3.85% rate increase will help CPS Energy meet immediate financial needs, such as replacing retiring technology, addressing an employee shortage, and addressing city growth, Garza reiterated Thursday.

If approved by the council, the increase would go into effect March 1, 2022. A customer with a $152 monthly bill would pay about $5 more per month, officials say. It will be the utility’s first rate increase since 2014.

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Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report.