Category: COVID-19

Principales Causas De Muerte Y Mayor Impacto Del Covid-19 En Los Hombres Hispanos de EE. UU. ter assessing the most progressive and protective energy-related policies around the United States and submit our findings, recommendations, and demands to you today. From all of you we expect a thorough review and dialogue on how we can begin implementing our key recommendations as soon as possible. TELL THE MAYOR, COUNCIL, AND CPS ENERGY YOU STAND FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE ACTION! 1. End the Policy of Utility Disconnections for Most Vulnerable Families Until the novel coronavirus appeared in San Antonio, CPS Energy was cutting power to roughly 100,000 households and businesses every year for non-payment. While disconnections are currently paused in response to the economic crisis that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic, city-owned utilities in other parts of the U.S. have begun returning to disconnecting power to the most vulnerable households for non-payment. It’s just a matter of time before CPS Energy returns to their former behavior unless new commitments are made. Considering the climate disaster known as Winter Storm Uri compounded the housing- and energy-related debt wrought by the pandemic, we call on CPS Energy to: Commit to zero power disconnections for nonpayment through the remainder of 2021; Eliminate completely the policy of disconnections for nonpayment for all households at or below 200% of the poverty level; Reducing to the fullest extent possible the pass through of any of the excess power costs incurred during Uri to CPS customers; Develop a true Critical Care Program dedicated to ensuring stable power supply to those with medical conditions (such as diabetes and burns), including anyone reliant on home medical devices, in addition to helping the disabled community keep up with their bills; Conduct a third-party audit of existing payment assistance programs–including customer debt management–and a study of the potential impacts of rate-structure changes that could significantly reduce the costs to overburdened lower-income neighborhoods. Make de-identified disconnection data (including frequency, duration, demographics, economic status, Critical Care Program participation, and geographical location) publicly available to increase transparency and support deeper community discussion about policy priorities related to household energy (2,3). 2. Move ‘Beyond Resilience’: Prioritize Weatherization, Demand Management, and Community Solar as Essential to a Just Recovery Energy conservation and efficiency programs are widely considered the “first fuel” by the energy utility industry and are the most cost-effective way to provide resilient and affordable energy systems for local residents (4). In addition to their jobs-creation potential, conservation, demand-side management, and decentralized solar and storage systems keep people safe even during extended power outages. Effective insulation alone can mean the difference between life and death, as the U.S. Department of Energy understands (5). We must: Expand our overall goal for the coming FlexSTEP program to at least 940 MW of coincident peak reduction and 1.5% annual energy saving while prioritizing weatherization and home improvement programs for the most energy vulnerable communities to keep them safe year-round; Expand STEP to include a natural gas-savings target to begin reducing heating and hot water fuel use in buildings; Dramatically increase rooftop solar and battery storage in historically neglected communities that experience higher rates of energy burden (percent of household income spent on utilities); Develop “resiliency centers” in those areas shown to be most vulnerable to extreme weather events; Work with other City agencies, including social services, to address barriers to market adoption for homes most in need, such as substandard roofs and foundations, and homes most frequently disconnected for nonpayment; And center these programs in a climate-conservation corps effort focused on energy-demand reduction, skills-sharing, jobs-creation, and collective community security. 3. Establish Community-Driven Resource Planning CPS Energy has not yet engaged in any sort of public resource planning process. This means there is no formal way for stakeholders in the community, including our elected representatives to City Council, to provide meaningful input into CPS planning and no requirement that CPS Energy consider input as part of its decision-making. Instead, CPS Energy offers proposals about how to spend billions of community rate-payer dollars in silos, without a clear path connecting the decisions to community needs. For example, CPS Energy very recently issued an energy efficiency plan (FlexSTEP) request for proposal (RFP); finally produced an analysis around retiring San Antonio’s Spruce coal plant; and is evaluating responses to an earlier RFP related to solar, flexible, and battery sources. There’s nothing coherent to anyone about these moves because they aren’t the result of a broader, cohesive public decision making process. We call on the Board of Trustees and City Council to: Affirmatively acknowledge their role as regulators for CPS Energy and provide regulatory oversight over CPS Energy, including oversight over rates and resource planning; Require that CPS Energy conduct a resource planning process with meaningful public engagement; Develop a performance-based regulatory framework to align CPS Energy’s performance with policy goals rooted in climate justice (ie. reducing disconnections and climate pollution, while increasing energy efficiency and household energy equity). Ensure that the resource planning process reflects the interests of a broad range of stakeholders; Create access to data and information about underlying assumptions for the public and/or stakeholders participating in a public process. 4. No Rate Increases Until Our Utility Rate Structure is Fair The current rate structure is based on declining rate tiers: Customers that use the most electricity pay the least – less than half the price – per unit of electricity. That rate structure is grossly unfair to the people of San Antonio, a city with the highest rate of poverty among the 25 largest cities in the USA. The bottom 40 percent of SA households that were already struggling to make ends meet, even before the economic stresses due to the Winter Storm/COVID-19 crises, deserve to have utility rates that are completely affordable, relative to their per capita household income. The motto of CPS is “People First!” Its rate structure, however, makes Corporations first and the People last. To do that, we must: Expand customer “classes” who would be subject to less burdensome rates, specifically: low-income and medically vulnerable populations low-energy use customers; Change the rate structure to be closely linked to the full marginal price of energy, including the externalized costs due to air pollution and climate change; Change the rate structure to reflect the full value of customers’ investment in Distributed Energy Resources (DERS), such as onsite solar energy and battery storage, and the use of electric vehicle two-way charging. 5. Shut Down the Spruce Coal Plant by 2030 San Antonio releases 17.3 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, according to the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. To avoid the worst manifestations of global warming in this climate crisis requires cutting that number in half (or better) by 2030. Our own climate plan requires us to cut our emissions by 41 percent by 2030. We know that reforming the transportation sector—with remarkably scant funding and millions of miles of roads—is a multi-decadal prospect. The only way to hit our target is by retiring Spruce, which is responsible for roughly 8 million metric tons per year (MMT/yr) on a 10-year average. Today, our organizations, memberships, and community allies across the city call upon you to immediately take up these needed reforms. Be it the compounding hazards of our climate crisis or the daily suffering caused by inequitable distribution of risk related to our energy choices, the hardships borne by our residents will not be lightened without concerted action. Meanwhile the accelerating pace of climate-related disaster means we have no time to lose. Signed, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter Public Citizen Southwest Workers Union All of Us or None Texas Deceleration Bexar County Green Party Society of Native Nations Esperanza Peace & Justice Center Yanawana Herbolarios Texas Rising American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions SA Stands Coalition Citizens Climate Lobby, SA Chapter Energia Mia MOVE Texas SATX Indivisible People’s Parity Project Compost Queens San Antonio Progressive Alliance Charles Roundtree Bloom Project William C. Velásquez Institute Sierra Club, Alamo Group San Antonio DSA Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas Texas Drought Project Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

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