Here’s a $5.5-billion-dollar question for you: What happened to revenue gained from the 2008 electricity rate hike?
If you recall, city-owned CPS Energy was asking for a five-percent rate hike. It was their first such request in more than a dozen years. It had obviously been so long since they needed something from City Hall that they forgot how to ask nice.
All kinds of irritation followed and several city leaders expressed exasperation at how difficult it was to get straight answers from the utility.
Some San Antonians were wary about the hike money flying out an open window into a vacuum for ill-defined nuclear-expansion purposes. Bless their mistrustful, little hearts.
They pushed hard and got the Council to require that no part of the rate hike to go toward the expansion attempts for the South Texas Complex nuclear facility in Bay City.
CPS responded pragmatically that it would instead pull money from its capital budget “to pay its nuclear development obligations.”
“These include the filing of a combined construction and operation license application for STP Units 3 and 4 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, refining a construction plan/cost estimate and reserving manufacturing slots for large equipment/components that have long lead times.”
(Kicking in for Japanese-made nuke shells before the city had agreed to follow along? but I’m straying.)
The rate-hike money, according to that same 2008 press release, would be used for completion of the Spruce II coal plant, pollution controls on existing plants, new substations and power lines, and a “boost in customer rebates and incentives from $96 million over a four-year-period to approximately $136 million over four years.”
The Council refused to approve the five-percent request, grudgingly offering a lesser 3.5-percent increase, instead.
A few months later, January of '09, almost all of those green rebate programs were closed due to "lack of funds."
At the council’s public hearing Monday night, CPS bosses will probably tell you that the eliminated 1.5 percent just happened to be the 1.5 percent the $40 million in green-energy dollars was going to be pulled from.
Possibly worse: The San Anto-based Consumers' Energy Coalition states in one of their questions that a CPS manager recently suggested those new funds were put in the capital budget (you're getting it now) where the nuke-development cash was being pulled from. Wacky taffy.
At least the question will finally be asked — in public — with an answer required.
One thing’s for sure: All the dominant boosters and critics will get a turn. (Well, everyone but me. I’ll cede by time to the cutest registered greenie on hand, I guess.)
Here’s the running roster:
South Texas political blogs
Jon's Jail Journal
B and B
Dig Deeper Texas
The Walker Report
Grits for Breakfast
San Antonio Politics (Express-News)
Off the Kuff
South Texas Chisme
Rhetoric & Rhythm
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