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Where do San Antonio City Council members stand on vote for power bill rate increase?

Opinion appears split as of now, and one council member is requesting an audit of CPS Energy.

SAN ANTONIO — Paying more money for your power bill every month, that could soon be a reality. On Monday the CPS Energy Board voted unanimously for the rate increase. You would pay a little more than $5 a month.  City Council will decide in three days for a final vote.

However, District Six City Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda wants an audit. She said she doesn't want CPS Energy to audit themselves, she is calling for a third party to get involved.  She wants to make sure management practices and policies are intact.

Cabello Havrda said this is needed since the utility is asking for more money.

"I have some anxiety about it," she said.

Cabello Havrda said the vote on Thursday is a difficult decision. Combined with the rate jump and the recovery of fuel costs from the winter storm you will pay $5.10 more a month.

"I think we forget sometimes we haven't had rate increase in eight years," she said.

In a statement CPS Energy said there are four key drivers behind this 3.85% rate request.

Infrastructure Resiliency – power generation and distribution projects to support operations during extreme weather

Technology – design future technology platform to replace current end-of-life platform

Growth – keep up with the community's continued strong growth

People – retain and hire qualified employees needed to serve customers

"I am leaning towards supporting the rate change because of the infrastructure problem, se said. I am still open. I want to listen to the very end."

KENS 5 reached out to every council member about their stance ahead of Thursday's vote. The majority got back to us.

First up, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he would be voting yes. He also released the following statement:

"It's a reasonable request and a dramatic improvement from where this process started.

"It has been eight years since the last rate increase, and CPS Energy leadership has done what we have asked and narrowed the request to basic operations, maintenance, and weatherization. "They have done their proper due diligence on this request."

District One Councilman Mario Bravo said he has been meeting with the interim CEO and board members to discuss measures that will stabilize the organization in order to minimize future rate increases.

District Two Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, and Councilman Clayton Perry said they are learning toward voting no.

District Seven Councilwoman Ana Sandoval said she hasn't committed, but is leaning toward yes.

District Five Councilwoman Terri Castillo's office told us quote: “The City Attorney's Office advised us not to discuss how Councilwoman Teri Castillo may vote in order to prevent any potential violations of the Open Meetings Act. My apologies in advance.

District Eight Councilman Manny Pelaez is hosting a CPS Energy Virtual Townhall on Tuesday. His office told us he is still undecided pending this discussion with his neighbors.

KENS 5 is still waiting to hear back from council district's three, four, and nine.

Meanwhile, Cabello Havrda said she is seeking truth, trust, and transparency in this audit.

"There is a lack of trust between our community and CPS," she said. So you are asking me to vote for a 3.85% of my community what are we going to get back for it? How are you going to spend this money. Where exactly is it going?

The councilwoman said she heard back from the CPS Energy Interim CEO who said they will do an audit, but it not clear when. KENS 5 reached out to CPS Energy and received the below response. 

“CPS Energy is committed to being open and transparent with our community. While CPS Energy has work to be done to rebuild trust with our community, we are also taking a closer look at the accountability culture of our company while increasing our community engagement.”

The next hurdle is the council vote that's set for this Thursday at 9 a.m. If approved, rates go up on March 1. The CPS Energy Interim CEO said this investment is needed to maintain critical community infrastructure.