SAN ANTONIO — CPS Energy customers in the San Antonio area are getting a smaller electricity bill for Christmas.
The utility on Tuesday announced it would distribute $42.5 million in direct rebates via those December bills, following city council's recent conversations about how to spend millions in surplus revenue.
Those conversations unfolded over a series of meetings and budget workshops over the past few months. Another much-discussed option was to put the extra money towards weatherization efforts and energy-efficient upgrades. Others included allocating the brunt of the money to fighting domestic violence or improving local infrastructure.
Ultimately, city leaders opted to give that money back to customers following a historically hot San Antonio summer that saw some residents' bills reaching triple-digits.
The average CPS Energy customer can expect to receive a credit of around $29 in December. The specific amount depends on the user's electric usage from July; those who used up to 1,000 kilowatt hours will received a credit of up to $18, for example, while customers who used between 1,000 and 2,000 kilowatt hours will receive a credit of between $18 and $36.
The most a customer is expected to receive is $72, if their electricity usage approached 4,000 kilowatt hours. You can check your July electricity usage via CPS Energy's online dashboard.
"There's nothing that you have to do to receive your credit," CPS Energy spokesperson Deanna Hardwick said. "It will just automatically show up on your bill."
Customers with past-due bills who are also on a payment plan – including the Affordability Discount Program, Residential Energy Assistance Partnership or the Critical Care Program – will get an even bigger gift of up to $300. The total will not exceed the amount of their past-due bill.
“On average, we’re seeing customers have close to about $800 past due, so being able to (provide) $300 is about a third of that,” Hardwick said.
Customers with past-due bills will see the credit up to $300 after they have made three consecutive payments on their bills.
“If for any reason that something comes up and they can’t make a payment on that payment arrangement, I would encourage them to go ahead and call us and we’ll see what adjustments we can make to that payment plan so we can keep them moving for their account and also make sure that they stay qualified for the one-time credit,” Hardwick added.
Customers who decide against the December credit, meanwhile, can opt out starting in November. In those instances, according to the utility, the amount they would receive will be redirected towards payment assistance programs or ongoing weatherization efforts.
Some residents KENS 5 spoke to in August were split on how the surplus CPS Energy revenue should be spent, including some who said rebates wouldn't put much of a dent in how much they paid for power over the summer.