Eighty years ago, the City of San Antonio purchased CPS Energy, which had already been providing power to the community for about eight decades.
That $34 million purchase turned the electric company into a public power company and city partner that benefits all San Antonians. As a city-owned utility, CPS Energy provides funding to the city — up to 14% of annual revenue, which covers about 27% of the city’s budget — each year. Those dollars go into the city’s general fund, which covers the cost of police and fire service; the operations of parks, libraries and senior facilities; and a variety of other services on which San Antonians depend.
In its eight decades as a municipally owned utility, CPS Energy has provided $9 billion in funding back to the city as a return on its $34 million investment.
Those annual payments have provided essential dollars that, if CPS Energy weren’t publicly owned, would have to be made up through higher property taxes and municipal fees.
Because CPS Energy is municipally owned and not-for-profit, customers’ dollars get reinvested back into the community. And the utility’s priorities are focused on serving its customers. As the largest municipally owned electric and natural gas utility in the U.S., CPS Energy is working in the best interests of its customers day in and day out. All the long-term planning done by the utility is conducted through the prism of serving customers, ensuring that CPS Energy continues to provide reliable, competitively priced power.
The vast majority of Texas is served by investor-owned utilities in deregulated areas. The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power conducted a comprehensive study of the regulated and deregulated markets in Texas and concluded in a report that customers in those deregulated areas paid significantly more for their power.
The rates charged by the utility cover the cost of providing safe and reliable electric and gas services, maintaining the utility’s infrastructure — the plants that generate power, the pipes that move gas and the wires that transmit electricity. The rates also cover the cost of investments in system improvements, designed to make services for the customer better.
CPS Energy doesn’t operate its business with the goal of driving up profits for investors. San Antonio’s utility is singularly focused on being the best it can be for the community.
The utility is an economic driver here. Its products — gas and electricity — enable businesses to produce goods and provide services. Additionally, CPS Energy contracts with local vendors to provide goods and services. And the utility provides good jobs to San Antonians as well. This fiscal ecosystem is part of what drives growth of the local economy and supports a vibrant quality of life in San Antonio.
CPS Energy — and its team of 3,000 employees — are driven to be strong community partners, providing reliable, competitively priced power to customers across greater San Antonio. The people who work for the utility are members of the community, too. They spend their money at local businesses and grocery stores, they send their children to San Antonio schools and they volunteer thousands of hours annually on community projects. And they invest in future generations by training interns and mentoring students in schools across the community.
Additionally, CPS Energy partners with other local agencies and participates in various programs and activities that give back to the community. Partnerships with more than 100 community agencies support customers in need of bill payment assistance or other services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CPS Energy representatives personally called customers and connected them with tens of millions of dollars in bill assistance and help that ranged from food, daycare and even funeral arrangements. With its annual United Way campaign underway, CPS Energy employees and retirees will likely donate close to $1 million.
CPS Energy continues to work each day to help make the community a better place for everyone who lives and works here.
Learn more about what CPS Energy is doing in the community.