CPS Energy is suspending bonuses to roughly 1,800 employees to help it weather the financial storm caused by the global pandemic.

Utility officials announced Friday that in response to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, it will not pay $13 million in incentives that would have likely gone in May to more than half of its total workforce of 3,100.

That includes executives such as President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams, who could have earned a roughly $530,000 bonus this year for work in the previous fiscal year. Gold-Williams earns a base salary of $485,850, with a bonus last year of $444,820 that took her total compensation to $930,669.

In a prepared statement Friday, Gold-Williams said it is “very difficult to predict how this pandemic will impact San Antonio and specifically CPS Energy in the long term.”

“This was not an easy decision, but we know suspending all incentive payments is the right thing to do while our community is facing the unforeseen combination of economic, health and financial impacts,” Gold-Williams continued. “It is important to preserve cash and maintain the highest quality of operations and service.”

The suspension of bonuses will last for two years, said Melissa Sorola, CPS Energy’s senior director of corporate communications.

“The two-year timeframe was decided because we are going to completely focus on helping our customers and maintaining the stability of our business during this time,” Sorola said in an email. “We are hopeful 2022 will get us back to normalcy.”

CPS Energy has also imposed a hiring freeze, “except for a limited number of critical positions,” according to a news release announcing the cutbacks.

The immediate financial effect of the crisis on the utility is not yet clear, with officials sharing only February numbers during their last meeting on March 30. In February, CPS Energy brought in nearly $180 million in revenue.

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Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.