CPS Energy is officially searching for a third-party auditor following requests to do so from the San Antonio City Council, a utility trustee told council members Tuesday.

Janie Gonzalez, the utility board’s vice chair, told the city’s utilities subcommittee that CPS Energy put out a request for proposals on Feb. 11 to audit the utility in five areas: financial health; operational excellence; customer engagement, user experience and service design; organizational culture and workforce development; and economic value to the community.

“We are going to look for diverse, qualified vendors,” she told the subcommittee, “and of course, everything will boil down to credibility.”

Gonzalez said each vendor will be able to bid on all five areas or just one.

The utility’s search for an auditor comes in response to pressure from some council members and members of the public. Both Mario Bravo (D1) and Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6), hinged their approval for CPS Energy’s recent 3.85% rate increase request on the utility’s agreement to launch an audit.

Representatives from some chambers of commerce also said they supported the rate increase if it was accompanied by a third-party review of the utility’s finances and management practices.

“I want to applaud CPS for their prompt response to my letter and more importantly, for the diligence and cooperation that we’re seeing through this process,” Cabello Havrda said. ”I’m very interested to see the output. I mean, that’s what the whole point is — to [be] transparent.”

Proposals are due March 10, and the board will award contracts by July 1, Gonzalez said, with each section report due to trustees 120 days from the award of the contract.

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett is the Science & Utilities reporter for the San Antonio Report.