CPS Energy’s costs during the winter storm crisis reach nearly $ 1 billion for the energy and fuel it had to purchase
CPS Energy officials are still figuring out the cost of the winter storm and energy crisis that left hundreds of thousands of people in San Antonio without power for days – but early estimates total nearly a billion of dollars.
The costs stem from the fact that the municipal utility had to buy nearly $ 200 million of electricity from ERCOT, the operator of the Texas grid, and up to $ 800 million of natural gas, the costs of which have soared. soaring during the peak days of the crisis. CPS Energy is trying to reduce the impact of the high cost through a $ 500 million loan that must be approved by San Antonio City Council.
CPS Energy CEO and President Paula Gold-Williams told board members at a specially convened meeting on Monday that consumer electricity bills across Texas are reaching several thousand dollars and that the public service is trying to stop this.
“We don’t send invoices (to CPS Energy customers) that include these shockingly high prices for fuel and electricity,” she said. “This is what municipal power does, we make sure to defend and protect our customers. “
The winter storm left San Antonio with sub-zero temperatures for more than 100 hours with wind chills reaching minus 4 degrees early on February 15.
These sub-zero wind chills across Texas shut down electric generators and left millions of Texans in darkness, in some cases for days, as ERCOT ordered utilities to reduce the load on the system. in order to protect the network.
The exorbitant cost that CPS Energy and other utilities face is the result of power producers charging more for natural gas and additional electricity. The Texas Utilities Commission has allowed the price of power generation to rise to scarcity price levels.
This has seen the price of natural gas skyrocket to over 16,000% according to CPS Energy’s tally. The utility also had to purchase additional electricity through ERCOT. Gold Williams noted that CPS Energy’s entire portfolio from its coal-fired power plant, nuclear power plants, solar and wind power and gas steam turbines suffered at least some sort of power cut during the storm. .
She said the utility would negotiate with all energy providers to lower the price by $ 1 billion.
“We are attacking this with every tool we have both from a political point of view, from a regulatory point of view, we are going to negotiate and we are going to use all the other tools we can to reduce this”, a- she declared.
The utility is looking at several avenues to avoid passing costs on to customers. This includes a loan of $ 500 million. CPS Energy directors approved the loan application to San Antonio City Council at Monday’s meeting.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg sits on both the CPS Energy board and chairs the city council. He said the loan – if approved – would be intended to keep liquid assets available for CPS Energy’s day-to-day operations.
“This action allows CPS to maintain cash flow as we work to defend the rights of our citizens against the financial burden of this disaster on their backs as they suffer from one of the worst market failures and the worst weather events in Texas history, ”Nirenberg said.
Access to this loan would require the approval of the entire San Antonio City Council.
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