Barreling oil prices…
Loss of market confidence…
The CPS Energy Board of Trustees and the utility's Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at
During the meeting, CPS Energy customers will be able to obtain more information about the rate request that would amount to less than 5 percent on monthly residential utility bills. A proposed affordability discount to help minimize the financial impact on low-income customers also will be outlined.
Customers then will have the opportunity to make comment before the CPS Energy Board and CAC. Registration to speak will open on-site at 5 p.m., and speakers will be limited to three minutes per person. However, an individual may cede his or her time to another speaker, but no speaker may speak for more than nine minutes¿ total.
On March 31, CPS Energy staff will ask the Board for approval of a combined electric and gas rate request that would mean less than a $7 per month increase on the typical residential customer's bill of $135. CPS Energy is continuing to work with the City of
The proposed electric rate increase will be the first time since 1991 that a change in the rate structure would produce additional revenue to meet CPS Energy's financial obligations. An electric rate adjustment in 2005 for an additional 12 percent share of the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear power plant actually resulted in lower customer bills because nuclear fuel produces electricity at a lower cost compared to other fuels.
"Thanks to growth throughout our community and sound financial management, we haven't had to request many rate increases during the past two decades," said Norma Soliz, CPS Energy senior director of regulatory relations. "We wish we didn't have to request an increase now, but in response to our customers' requirements, we have committed to major projects that will help ensure reliable service and maintain our enviable position of having the lowest energy bills among the nation's 10 largest cities."
Soliz said CPS Energy has made large financial commitments as part of the company's Strategic Energy Plan to satisfy the growing community's energy needs for the long run. "We continue to add more than 1,000 customers every month," she said. "Meanwhile, we're experiencing significant price increases in steel, concrete and other commodities necessary to complete capital construction projects."
Revenue from the electric rate increase will help pay for the following major initiatives to serve CPS Energy customers:
* construction of a large coal-fired generating unit at Calaveras Lake and the installation of natural gas-fired peaking units at Braunig Lake that will produce affordable electricity;
* environmental commitments to the community and region including $500 million in emissions-control upgrades to existing power plants;
* $96 million in customer rebates and incentives as part of CPS Energy's more-aggressive energy-efficiency program;
* needed infrastructure such as electric substations and power lines; and
* a detailed study on the possible addition of more nuclear-fueled electrical generation.
"The study of possibly expanding our supply of nuclear-generated electricity will account for less than 1 percent of the proposed 5 percent electric rate increase," Soliz noted.
Revenue from the gas rate increase will help pay for construction to expand and further improve the infrastructure of CPS Energy's natural gas delivery systems.
"The recommended increases are not about operations and maintenance expenses, although we have made a concerted effort at CPS Energy to control costs," Soliz said. "For example, through attrition and productivity improvements, we've been able to reduce our work force from 4,300 to 3,800 over the past five years."
To offset the impact of the rate increases on low-income customers, CPS Energy will recommend an affordability discount for those who meet the guidelines for assistance programs such as REAP (Residential Energy Assistance Partnership) and Project WARM. Recipients must be at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty level and experiencing financial hardship.
CPS Energy is the nation's largest municipally owned energy company providing both natural gas and electric service. Acquired by the City of
For more CPS Energy information, visit www.cpsenergy.com.
HERE'S THE SIERRA CLUB RELEASE:
CPS Energy wants to commit to two new nuclear units at
Studies have shown a rise in cancer rates in the vicinity of nuclear plants, and a decline when the plants are closed. Pregnant women and young children seem to be the most vulnerable.
CPS is saying that the two new units will cost about $4 - $5 billion and be on-line by 2016. This is highly unlikely. Moody's Investors Service has calculated that a plant the size of what we'd be getting will cost more in the neighborhood of $16 billion. We ratepayers will be paying that. And the plant is likely to experience delays that make 2016 much too optimistic a start up date. Already the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has indefinitely postponed consideration of the application because of software concerns. And the waste disposal problem for all nukes is far from being solved.
There are safer, cleaner, eminently more viable alternatives to nuclear that will meet the demand of our growing population, and ultimately cost less in terms of both health and money. We need to convince CPS and our City Council of this.
CPS will hold a public hearing on the nuke Tuesday, March 25, 6-8 pm, at La Villita Assembly Hall. PLEASE ATTEND. PLEASE MAKE A STATEMENT OPPOSING NUCLEAR AND ENDORSING EFFICIENCY, CONSERVATION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY. We need your help! If the number of people who speak out is large, we cannot be ignored.
Hall is located at
For more information call Loretta, Conservation Chair, Alamo Group of the Sierra Club, at 492-4620.
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