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CPS Energy Working Toward Transparency On New Bills

CPS Energy

Responding to criticism that it has failed to meet promises for additional transparency made by its CEO, this month CPS Energy will begin offering customers a breakdown of some of their costs.

A line on the back of the CPS Energy bill shows the customer’s Cost for Fuel Adjustment, the relative cost of different sources of energy it uses in its portfolio.

"The adjustment made for either coal or natural gas or renewables like solar and wind, those will be broken down on the website so people will be able to see exactly what that fuel adjustment is," said CPS Energy Spokeswoman Christine Patmon.

CEO Doyle Beneby blogged this week about the extended information, saying it is part of his efforts to increase transparency of the agency. In August the Express-News published an editorial questioning why the utility has refused to reveal the terms of its 2012 contract to buy 450 megawatts of solar power from OCI Solar.

Patmon said the utility company is not required to release third party agreements for power supply, and said ultimately releasing that information is not good for rates.

"Then, when we cut the nextdeal, we don't have the third party coming to us and saying, 'Well, you paid your previous person this much; you should be paying us this much,'" she said. 

CPS has entered into contract with OCI to provide solar power to San Antonio for the next 25 years. The company is bringing 800 jobs to the city for workers who will build its solar panels. 

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.