"Every day, we hear life stories – the things you dream of doing, and those daily items you just have to get done. You want to start a new business, go back to school or make a special birthday dinner for the tweener you could swear was born just yesterday. We know because we’re traveling through this thing called life with you. Your passion is what drives us every day to come to work and make those magical moments happen.
Providing you safe, reliable and competitively priced power is what we do. And, while we’re taking care of the basics, we’re listening to make sure we’re offering you valuable energy options, programs and services."
Daniel Armstrong decided to move last year. He’s not big on spending his time traveling here or there to get things done if online services are available. So he visited our website and setup his new electric service when it was convenient for him. That freed up his day to spend time in other ways.
We know your life doesn't revolve around normal business hours anymore. Our self-service options mean you don’t have to stop life to get services connected or disconnected when you move. Giving you convenient choices is one of the reasons we are modernizing our grid, a four-year project that will be completed in Summer 2018.
Gabriel Zacarias and his dad served our nation and his brother, Adrian, continues to wear the uniform of the United States Air Force. Gabriel now supports you as part of our team that troubleshoots customer service application issues. He understands the 24/7 operations of both our company and the military.
When the Defense Logistics Agency awarded us a 50-year, $248 million contract in 2017 to own, operate and maintain the energy infrastructure at three Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) installations, we knew many of the men and women leaning on us for reliable service would be families like Gabriel’s. This awesome responsibility includes supplying power for 134,000 uniformed and civilian personnel at Randolph Air Force Base, Lackland Air Force Base and the Lackland Training Annex. We now are the sole provider for all of JBSA – the largest and most diverse joint base in the country.
Before the first school bell ever rings, little tummies and nutrient-seeking minds depend on a hot breakfast in the cafeteria. Staff in the kitchens at schools in the Medina Valley and Southside independent school districts depend on the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to ensure the first link in the learning environment is a strong one. The two districts joined others in Greater San Antonio along with food distributor Ben E. Keith in selecting us as their provider of choice last year. And, we’re reaching out to many more, exploring the benefits and cost-effectiveness of natural gas for your cooking and heating needs.
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is hearing criticism. It can sting, but like yucky cough syrup it can help you get better. Serving up the medicine isn’t always an easy job either but Cara Tackett, Senior Vice President with Pape-Dawson, says inefficiencies on our end were costing her clients wasted time on valuable projects.
"The Real Estate Council of San Antonio (RECSA) and other design, construction and development representatives began working with CPS Energy and SAWS through the Mayor’s Utility Task Force. CPS Energy partnered with the council for process improvements by talking and listening to concerns about technology, process, and customer service.
In CPS, we found a partner willing to listen, evolve, and bring about change to their process and culture. Nationwide, the construction and development industry is often treated by utilities and public agencies as an adversary. CPS recognized we are customers too; the ones that build the environment of new homes, apartments, offices, restaurants, and all of those things that result in growth and new residents for San Antonio. Without CPS’ willingness to see us as a customer and partner, change would not have been possible. The goal was how to do things faster, at a reasonable cost, with a collaborative attitude,” Cara said.
We listened to Cara and others, then launched a Construction Service Improvement (CSI) initiative to provide better service to these large key accounts who help drive economic benefits for you. One of the improvements included a new web portal that provides direct project status at each step along the way for new construction jobs. Cara reports that our improvements are working.
We also created a new Executive Account Management (EAM) team to partner closely with large, complex residential and commercial developments to focus on their service delivery needs and identify commercial energy solutions. Another area where we improved was our support for multifamily housing construction. We reduced construction lead time by 75 percent, shortening it from 55 to 13 days. We’re determined to keep improving because we care about getting it right for you.
When unusual severe weather happens like last spring’s rare touchdown of four tornadoes, it’s unnerving, to say the least. Along with the anxiety created, your life gets interrupted when the power goes out. We heard from people like Louise Spoor who naturally expected that it would be awhile before her lights turned back on. Louise voiced pleasant surprise after we arrived at her home and completed restoration work “extremely quick.”
During outages like that, we know having someone answer your questions quickly is important. Our Energy Advisors and Community Engagement team responded to you, sharing tips and keeping you up to speed on our restoration efforts.
We probably all remember our local sigh of relief and simultaneous groan for Houston and coastal cities after Hurricane Harvey stalled over Texas in late August. Harvey knocked out power to 149,000 of you, whether briefly or longer. Our crews quickly got your lights back on here, and as you would expect, headed to help our other fellow Texans (see Mutual Assistance section).
It may seem odd but our business goal is not to sell as much of our product as we possibly can. We actually pay you to use less energy. “My electric bill is going to bankrupt you,” joked Ronald Johnson, a Casa Verde participant.
We love calls like that but know that high energy bills are no laughing matter. Neither is wasted energy or the costs of building a new power plant. Those three factors prompted us to commit $850 million in 2009 to our Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan, or STEP. Partnering with you to create a more energy efficient and emissions-reducing community, STEP aims to reduce the growth in our community’s demand for electricity by 771 megawatts (MW) by 2020 -- that’s the output of a large power plant.
The 771 MW-savings goal is within reach! Together, we have saved an accumulation of 620 MW as of last year.
There’s something for everyone in STEP’s 23 programs centered on energy efficiency, demand response or solar energy. Your options include a brand new program added in 2017 called Reduce My Use (RMU). Your quick participation resulted in 103,000 homes reducing energy use on peak days, saving 12.5 MW. Some of the other popular programs are the free Smart Thermostat, making it possible for you to manage your thermostat, even away from home; the Casa Verde weatherization program, providing up to $5,000 in home energy-saving improvements; and, the Commercial & Industrial Demand Response program, providing you incentives for saving energy, especially during our hot summer months.
The success of our solar programs can be seen across the rooftops. More than 11,000 systems grace the roofs of homes in Greater San Antonio. Almost 90 MW can be generated from those privately-owned systems, which we rebated to the tune of more than $100 million to date.
We know you may want to generate your own clean energy but have more pressing needs for your tight budget, or maybe you don’t own the roof you live under. We believe solar should be an option no matter where you live in our community or your circumstances. Two programs, Community Solar and Solar Host, give you choices. The first offers you the option of buying solar panels at a community solar farm, while the latter basically gives you the choice of leasing your roof for a solar system while you receive bill credit - without paying a dime.
Our first one-megawatt Community Solar farm sold out quickly with 245 of you purchasing an average of 45 panels. A second site is in the works. Five megawatts of solar are going up on commercial and residential roofs, with almost 600 of you participating in the Solar Host program for a total of 4.3 MW.
The City of San Antonio, our owner, took part in the program, hosting a solar system on the Ramirez Community Center.
Being disconnected means you have to make adjustments and in the midst of existing hardships, that can be rough. Our preference is to help you avoid the situation by getting assistance early. That’s why we went before our state lawmakers last year and asked them to make a legislative change so we would not have to disconnect you before we could offer you assistance. The rules in place didn’t allow us to provide you our Affordability Discount unless your power had been disconnected first. With the help of Senator Jose Menendez, a bill was passed that now allows us to offer you immediate assistance when you're eligible.
Mila and Ross Guajardo were in need of assistance last year, and we made sure they didn’t have to fret about making choices between keeping the lights on and medicine. They’re among 37,000 who have received help through our Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP) program since 2013 for a total of nearly $9 million. REAP provides those in need with up to $200 in bill assistance twice a year.
Knowing financial challenges can happen at any given time throughout our community, we contribute $1 million per year to REAP, and proceeds from our GrillsGiving event are also donated to the program. REAP is a partnership between our company, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.
The Affordability Discount and REAP are two of nearly a dozen assistance programs we offer to help you solve life’s pressing needs during financially challenging times.
Every dollar counts when it comes to your budget and you really would like to spend your money enjoying the fun things in life. We’re right there with you. So, with that in mind and a concerted effort to lower all of our carbon footprints, we changed our customer service model a couple of years ago.
Our Energy Advisors, formerly Customer Service Reps, approach your call differently today. Instead of quickly handling a call, we now spend more time listening and trying to get to the real “why” of your call and seeing what we can do to help. We spend time advising you about energy efficiency and our products and services that can lower your bill.
In 2017, we managed 3.4 million calls. Of the calls that went directly to an Energy Advisor, we answered your call within 30 seconds almost 90 percent of the time. We got there by tweaking our staffing, training and summer preparedness plans to serve you better.
Realizing your time is valuable, you waited no longer than six minutes to be served when visiting one of our customer service centers. Even with a short visit, we want you to feel welcome just by walking in the door. Recognizing that, all four of our centers received a mini makeover recently. After being greeted with warm, vibrant colors and signage that introduced you to our various programs, our tellers offered personalized service during more than half-a-million visits received last year.
In severe weather or during an after-hours outage, you may not be able to get to us, so we’ll come to you. Driven to actively engage with you, we introduced our Mobile Support Center (MSC) in February 2017. This mobile center on wheels enables us to have a face-to-face relationship in emergency situations or at events. Last year, the MSC also served as a staging area and sleeping quarters for teams assisting with Hurricane Harvey restoration efforts.
Whether you opt to get our assistance in person, on the phone or through our digital channels, we want you to experience our People First culture. Results from a Market Strategies International survey are a positive indication. You named us Most Trusted Brand for a combined services utility in the U.S. southern region. Thank you for your vote of confidence, and noticing our heart for service!