And the award for being the energy distributor for the seventh-largest city in the US goes to City Public Service of San Antonio (also known as CPS Energy). Serving 717,000 electricity customers and 325,000 natural gas customers, the utility operates in a 1,514-sq.-mi. service territory. CPS Energy also has a generating capacity of more than 5,000 MW from its 16 fossil-fueled power plants and its ownership interests in the South Texas Nuclear Project, and wind power and solar power projects. As a municipally owned utility, CPS Energy is exempt from retail competition in Texas.
CPS Energy serves customers in Bexar County and portions of Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson counties.
In 2012 CPS Energy reported a 10% jump in revenues (despite a slump in gas sales due to low commodity prices) thanks to brutally hot summer weather driving up demand for electricity. Income dropped by 65% that year, primarily due to higher fuel, purchased power, and distribution gas costs, coupled with higher conservation, operating, pension, and regulatory expenses.
Pushing renewables to reduce green house gas emissions to meet state and federal standards, CPS Energy is now leading in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned utilities across the US with almost 860 MW of wind energy under contract in 2012 and more planned to come on line that year. The company has a goal of getting 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2020, including 100 MW from solar power. In 2011 CPS Energy announced the proposed closure of its older Deely coal plant units, which will be replaced by a cleaner-burning natural gas plant.
Looking to reduce both power use and its carbon footprint, CPS Energy is retrofitting more than 1 million electric and gas meters (including 40,000 in 2011) in order to bring them into a smart technology grid to help customers save money and conserve power. It is also encouraging customers to switch to compact fluorescent lights, and has a goal of reducing power demand by 771 MW by 2020.
A venerable company, CPS Energy traces its roots to the 1860s, when its predecessor opened a manufactured gas plant on Houston Street. – less