CPS might start cutting off power for overdue bills from late spring or early summer.
CPS is the main energy provider for San Antonio, Texas. It is the largest municipally-owned energy utility provider. It provides electricity to over 860,000 customers and natural gas to over 370,000 customers over its 1,566 miles service area which includes Bexar County and parts of 7 other surrounding counties. From those, almost 170,000 customers’ bills are due for over 30 days.
When the pandemic raised its head, last March, the CPS had stopped disconnection of power. Thousands of people of San Antonio faced unemployment and poverty when they lost their jobs or their businesses had completely closed. The CPS deemed it necessary to forgive the overdue bills of the citizens of San Antonio. Even though it has been over a year and the deadly virus is still at full force, there is still a sliver of hope thousands of people are getting vaccinated every day all over the country. Now that things are finally starting to become normal, the CPS are debating whether to restart the discontinuation of their services.
CPS Energy had provided several services and facilities to help those who needed it throughout the pandemic. The emergency housing assistance program was started to provide financial support in making utility payments. Similarly, its Energy Angels program was started where community members can pay the bill of another customer who is in a dire state. Yet, customers owe the utility a total of $93 million.
Paula Gold-Williams, President and CEO of COS Energy told board members on Monday that the disconnects might resume in ‘late Spring to early summer.’
Some members have said that the discontinuation might start once the major part of the community across the city is vaccinated. Once the community has regained its balance after over a year of economic and health crises, the discontinuation might be feasible. However, the mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, who’s on the board of trustees of CPS Energy has commented that he doesn’t see why the time would depend on the vaccination rate. He added that he would like to have a few meetings with the board where they will carry out a data-driven discussion about the conditions and circumstances of the people in the city before thinking about restarting the discontinuation of necessities. As for now, a fixed date is not being kept in mind by the company.