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San Antonio

CPS Energy Didn't Realize Their Own Building Lights Were Left On During Blackouts

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File Photo | Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio

While managing controlled blackouts Monday to reduce demand on the state’s electric grid, officials with San Antonio’s city-owned power company said they didn’t realize the lights of their own building downtown were left on overnight.

“We were so busy and looking at everybody else, we weren't focused enough,” said CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams in response to a reporter’s question during a media briefing Tuesday. “We do actually have 24 hour operations in our downtown building, and for security purposes for where our people are working, we had left the lights on.”

Gold-Williams said CPS Energy activated a timer to shut off emergency lighting inside the building Tuesday and was working on turning off the lights to their parking light.

“When you're actually working on it, you just don't look around. You're focused on trying to keep (everybody’s power) up,” Gold-Williams said. “We can do better. That's one of our learning lessons.”

Rudy Garza, CPS Energy’s Chief Customer Engagement Officer, said downtown San Antonio has been exempted from the controlled outages due to its proximity to a lot of critical infrastructure.

“We have our county partners, we've got our owner, the City of San Antonio, we've got public safety infrastructure, we've got children's hospitals, we've got nursing homes,” Garza said. “With that being said, we have been reaching out to customers who are not occupying their buildings right now … that do have capacity to reduce their load.”

“We can't force them off, but we are working with them to do everything they can to help our community,” Garza said.

Gold-Williams said CPS Energy has also been in talks with other big commercial customers that use a lot of power.

“You may see lights, but there are even customers where… a lot of them have gone to their backup systems for power so they're not pulling off the grid, or they're reducing production cycles,” Gold-Williams said. “We've been really proud of San Antonio maintaining jobs, but really responding and helping that power go to residents.”

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