Reporting San Antonio

Q&A: CPS Energy CEO Rudy Garza on ‘the People’s Right to Energy’

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CPS Energy acting CEO Rudy Garza talking energy transformation and the right to power. Images: Greg Harman

The City of San Antonio-owned utility’s acting CEO talks about the people’s right to energy, the next generation of power sources, the importance of resilience centers and robust energy conservation, and approaching the Biden Administration for ways to retire coal faster.

Greg Harman

CPS Energy is a utility in transition. Internal commitments and culture, global market and climate forces, and sustained community pressure have all pressed the nation’s largest City-owned provider of electricity and natural gas into the shape it holds today. While electricity is generated primarily from a mix of coal, gas, and nuclear power, CPS bought deeply and early into wind power and is building out solar again this year after a years-long slowdown. Through its branded FlexPower Bundle effort launched in 2020, CPS announced its plan to bring online 900 megawatts (MW) of additional solar, 500MW of “firming capacity” (originally billed as “gas” but modified to allow for the possible entry of more renewables at the request of San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg an ex officio CPS board member), and 50MW of energy storage. (Read the original Request for Proposals here.) The first tranche of 300MW of solar was announced last week. CPS Energy is also the operator of one of the nation’s youngest coal plants: The two-unit Spruce plant is the region’s largest climate offender. With a pressing need to close the coal plant, thousands of megawatts of old gas units aging out, and explosive growth in the housing sector (as well as heavy energy users like data centers accumulating and crypto miners crashing into Texas) the utility’s leadership is looking closely at cleaner power sources—like geothermal—and evolving storage technologies, such as compressed air. (You can see a short video on emerging tech under discussion on Decel’s Twitter here.)

Importantly, the utility’s board unanimously adopted the City of San Antonio’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan in 2019, but it was only in February 2022 that it publicly agreed it is bound by the document’s interim greenhouse-gas reduction target of about 45 percent by 2030 and directed its Rate Advisory Committee members to chart a course to shutter Spruce by that same year. With a sizable gap in power generation looming, the leadership is advocating for the conversion of one of the coal units to run on gas. But, as acting CEO Rudy Garza tells Deceleration in his first sit-down interview with the outlet, geothermal could also find a home at the Calaveras Lake generation station producing as much as 2,000MW of power. Garza served as the utility’s head “customer engagement officer” before being elevated to replace former CEO Paula Gold-Williams last year months after unplanned forced power outages—lasting for days across much of the area—left hundreds of thousands of residents in freezing darkness during Winter Storm Uri. The outages—and deaths—attributable to Uri and related state and local failures meant Garza found the utility’s top seat in a period of conflict—but also with a perhaps unprecedented opportunity to recast the utility’s mission, metrics for success, and relationship with the community.

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On Thursday, June 16, San Antonio’s City Council votes on continuing the utility’s Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan energy-efficiency and conservation program after years of delay. Though repeated third-party audits have shown how the program has saved San Antonio residents money while making local families more secure, key detractors on the CPS Board and within the utility’s Rate Advisory Committee nearly sidelined the critical suite of programs now being modified for another five-year cycle. Deceleration spoke with Garza during a week of likely record-setting heat in a wide-ranging interview. We should note, finally, related to the opening dialogue about the people’s right to power, that while forced disconnections for nonpayment are paused during periods of extreme heat such as we are now experiencing, the long COVID-era break in disconnection policy was unstuck last year and is back in effect. In future conversations with Garza, we hope to pick up on the work of Climate Action SA, which published a critically important and under-referenced paper in 2021 with a raft of justice-based policy proposals for the utility, titled “Advancing Energy Justice Through Household Energy Policies.”

A transcript of our conversation with Garza, edited only lightly for readability, follows.

Deceleration: Your elevation to the position of acting CEO in 2021 was trial by fire, for sure. But perspective being: People died during Winter Storm Uri. People may die this week just where we are with our climate, the volatility of where we live. So I’d like to start with a values question: Do you believe that people have a right to power? And, if so, what are the challenges getting there?

CEO Rudy Garza: I believe people have a right to power. I mean, the quality of life, you know, and just the longevity of life over the history of our industry has been extended as a result of the electrification of our country, right? People’s lifespans have gotten longer because medicine and the refrigeration process that makes medicines distributable to a certain extent. Energy is about what kind of quality of life people have. And there are places in the world that still don’t have it. There are places in this country and on indigenous Native American lands that don’t have power and the American Public Power Association is actually working to try to electrify areas. So I believe that quality of life is driven by people’s access to energy. What [Winter Storm] Uri taught us was that when that energy is not available, it creates chaos. So now what does that mean?

It takes revenue to run a system. And there’s no such thing as free. I have to have resources to serve, to provide the public with the service they expect of CPS Energy. How can we make that happen when folks are having trouble paying? Folks are spending a lot of time trying to figure that out now.

We’re knocking on doors and we’ve never done that before. It’s had a huge impact on the mobility challenged folks in our community. So I do think people have a right to energy. CPS Energy, by and large, recognizes the role we play to ensure that that happens, but it’s a complicated set of solutions that we have to continue working through.

It makes me think of Ratepayer Advisory Committee (RAC) Chair Reed Williams. At the start of the RAC process, he would say, ‘We don’t have a right to require one class of customer to carry the weight for another class of customer.’ But I wonder if that’s actually true. I mean, it’s kind of a follow up here: How how we bring power to everybody?

I think that the utility industry in general has been very linear. There’s a way we’ve done things historically over the last 100-plus years that we’ve been an industry. Those ways have to change. I do think that, by and large, this community, what I love about San Antonio versus other other—I’ve lived all over the state of Texas—what I love about San Antonio is I think we have an inherent desire to help those that are less fortunate, those with less means and I think we can get to a place where we create systems for bringing in that revenue that we need to run the system in a way that helps those that that have the highest utility burden. I mean your information on utility burden has educated me. We’ve used your census track information to actually knock on doors (See: “San Antonio’s Five Most Energy Burdened Neighborhoods”). So I think that we’re thinking about those issues differently today than maybe the industry ever has. And here in San Antonio it’s about having open dialogue with the community about what that means. You know, am I willing to pay more in my house so that someone less fortunate than me can have energy? Absolutely. But we gotta do that in a way so people know that that’s what the game plan is. And then we kind of track that course together.

Related to that, with the transition to clean energy being so urgent, I think you generally have a supportive City Council to make these changes, but post-Uri there’s a very distrustful public. I watch social media and every time there’s a CPS post, you know, ‘Hey, raise your thermostat,’ people go nuts. And we understand where that’s coming from. But it’s also like, that’s a dysfunctional relationship. You have said that there’s PTSD in the community due to the storm outages. And I would say that community inclusion and involvement in solution-making is a key part of building that relationship so we can trust each other about the thermostat. You know it’s like a family, right? Who’s in charge of the thermostat? Do you feel like CPS is doing everything it can to bring people into the solution-making process and heal that PTSD and the trauma?

So a couple places I’d like to go on this on this question. Number one, I think we’re doing more than we’ve ever done in the past to bring people in to us. At the end of the day, there’s one person ultimately responsible for the lights staying on and the gas flowing, and that’s me. I have to take that input and factor that into the solutions that we’re presenting to our board, who ultimately has to make these calls and let them know that I did all the listening that I thought was the reasonable expectation.

I do hear that you are doing that from a range of interests.

I’m trying really hard. Now there’s going to be some kind of fundamental operational challenges that I have to address that may look different than what the community’s telling me they want. I hear the community on Spruce. We’re trying to get there, but reasonably. I cannot shut Spruce off tomorrow and the community expect me to serve this community reasonably. I didn’t make the decision to build Spruce. I’m left with the responsibility to figure out how to responsibly move away from coal, which I think is the right thing ultimately to do. And we’re trying to take more input then we ever have before. But it’s a process, man. I talked with my leadership team yesterday about the two fronts that I face everyday. I’ve faced, to your point, a community that still isn’t sure if what I’m doing is real, right? I think they like what they’re hearing from me.

What do you mean ‘real’?

Garza: ‘Is CPS Energy gonna be a more transparent organization under Rudy’s leadership?’ I think what they’re seeing is it that we’re moving in that direction. I think they’re still maybe skeptical that it’s gonna stick.

That it’s authentic.

Right, that it’s authentic. So I’ve got to convince the community every single day, one interaction at a time, that I mean what I say. And that I’m gonna do it that way. And all I can do is do it that way one positive step at a time. That’s number one. Number two, I’ve also got an organization inside, you know, internally that’s not used to doing things the way we’re trying to move the organization. I’ve also got a cultural change management process to make sure our employees understand why we have to do it that way.

Can you give me a specific?

The open-record stuff. You have asked me for information that beforehand you would have had to gone through the open record process. And I’ve sent you information that beforehand we would have never sent you in the past and I’m doing that as an act of goodwill trying to show you that we can be different. Now, not everybody internally is quite comfortable with that process yet. And so we kind of got to bring them along. So again you don’t ask a horse to be a zebra overnight, you know? I mean, it takes kind of generational change. But, I’ll tell you what, my leaders are on board with what we’re trying to do. It’s just gonna take a little time to get everybody understanding what we’re trying to do here. But, I hear you. I mean I think we have to be more transparent, you know, within reason. I do think there are some things that give us a competitive advantage in the market that we have to be careful with how we present openly, but we’re trying.

I want to ask you about that too. But I mean I’m particularly interested in ways for people to feel involved and empowered. Like you said, we’re doing these things, we’re listening community, and we’re committed to expanding that, I assume, going forward. So [City of San Antonio Chief Sustainability Officer] Doug Melnick speaking to Council [last] week about the CAAP [Climate Action and Adaptation Plan]. It was interesting. I’m always watching for the sideways comments that aren’t really, like, this isn’t why we’re here, but it comes out. He started talking about resilience hubs and ‘This is something I’m very excited about,’ you know, and we see very little, I would just say as an aside, very little actual progress.

I’d like to work with Southwest Workers Union on a resiliency hub that they’re working on and we’re making those connections right now. I know resilience hubs go beyond a cooling center. It includes what kind of services can we provide while they’re there. You know, what else can we do to help people who need the help?

I’m really kind of excited that they’ve asked us to be part of that. I think that’s a change. I don’t think in the past they would have ever come to CPS Energy saying, ‘Hey, what can you do to support this initiative?’ But I think those are the kind of things that we should be doing.

And, you know, I was going to say a resilience hub is interesting, like on its own. I’d love to sit down and just break all that apart. But I think also it’s clear that people are safest when they’re not trying to catch a bus to cool down, when they’re not trying to get to a library to cool down, or to a resilience center. Like they’re safest in their homes. And so my question really is: STEP [Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan] has come under fire. And that held a lot of support for weatherization programs targeting vulnerable communities and families. And when talking with your predecessor [former CPS CEO Paula Gold-Williams], we would have meetings. And I would ask, ‘Well, can we partner with the Housing Authority or Metro Public Health, you know? And can we do a citywide partnership?’ Just like these ideas. And she would say, ‘Well, that’s very creative; that’s a very creative idea,’ but it was clearly outside of her comfort zone. And what you’re describing, turning into a zebra, is the idea that we need to be moving, pushing our comfort zones in these areas. So I’m wondering, what does it take to deliver? People have a right to power. And the financial equation is difficult, bearing the burden together. But just the logistics then to getting people safe at home in a housing market like San Antonio where the stock can be so old and drafty?

I’ve been outspoken advocate for STEP from the get-go. And you know, I don’t know that the organization ever got credit for that. STEP is only at Council [for a vote this week] because we continued pushing forward.

Have the critiques been fair? From the Board or from within the RAC [Rate Advisory Committee]?

Honestly, I don’t know that I would agree that the critiques have been fair. I think you’ve got some folks who fundamentally just don’t want to spend money in that way. And that’s fair. That’s why I’ve said, ‘Look, either vote for it or vote against it. Honestly, you know, I just need direction.’ But, look, the one-year extensions that we’ve done don’t allow us long term to think strategically about the program and to change things up. You know it is kicking the can down the road. I’ll tell you, Greg, one thing that you need to know about me: I’m not a kick-the-can-down-the-road kinda guy. I didn’t sign up for that.

As leader of CPS Energy, I want to get things done, I want to execute, I want to move balls forward that maybe have been stagnating in the past. I’m challenging our board right now to make decisions. And I think that’s what the community expects out of us that maybe we have not done as good of a job on in the past that we’re trying to do today.

But I think the board did the right thing with STEP—in spite of the feedback we got from the RAC. You know, I think the RAC got a little confused the way the options were presented. Reed did it his way and I respect that. But when you’re doing a program like STEP you have to agree on the goal of the program, and then you build the programs that will help you accomplish that goal. Now it’s not just about the 400-plus megawatts of demand savings that we’re going to achieve—and we will achieve it because we’re world-class leaders in these programs. But now we’re also paying attention to the actual energy consumption, which is what the environmental community feedback was. They asked us to consider multifamily programs and put that in there in spite of the fact that there was some push back from the community, because I think that’s the right thing to do.

Forty percent of our community are renters. So, if I’m not paying attention to that, there’s a huge low-hanging-fruit opportunity there that we’re missing because we don’t have multifamily programs. So, again, to me that’s a sign that CPS Energy is changing the way we think about the world, the way we’re trying to approach our business. At the end of the day, I think, as relates to STEP, I think we’re doing the right thing.

On Council again, at that last Wednesday meeting, there was an invitation to CPS to step into the conversation. Doug [Melnick] said, ‘CPS could benefit from and is interested in this data. They don’t have it.’ And they said, ‘Well, tell them to come and tell us,’ basically.

I have time and again offered my assistance to that benchmarking process. I have very strict rules, that are not just CPS Energy rules, they are state of Texas guidelines. I was part of the group that passed the smart meter bill at the state level. Part of that smart meter bill, guess what? There’s a customer information protection provision in that bill that requires us to not release customer data without their consent. So, I can present customers with their own data and then the customers could decide whether or not they’re gonna, they’re gonna turn that over to the city. [Editor’s Note: One of the chief complaints from detractors on Council like D10’s Clayton Perry has been about the potential public disclosure of property owner data.] That’s the way it’s going to have to work, but, we’re gonna be willing partners in that process. And we’re gonna be helpful. I’ve told [Councilmember] Ana Sandoval. I’ve told Doug [Melnick]. I’ve told the City Manager and the Mayor. We’re gonna be helpful. But the the Council has to decide: Are they gonna make that mandatory? Is it going to be voluntarily? And even if it’s mandatory, I can’t just turn the information over.

Let me shift a little bit. I saw the [heat emergency] color codes. So, 78 [degree thermostat setting]: It sounds like it’s the standard for the summer. It’s like, ‘Everybody: Go 78.’ I’m wondering if that’s really protective of public health, though, when it comes to like—I look at World Health Organization. The nighttime temperatures are what I’m worried about. In the daytime people get through these 10 hours of whatever it is of blazing heat. But if the core can’t cool to around 75, the organs can fail. Older folks, younger folks. So, I’m wondering if there’s specifically like literacy around heat stress and high temperatures that we can do a better job educating people around or protecting people?

Christine Patmon [CPS Energy’s Director of Corporate Communications] interjects: We actually have a campaign right now where we joined the City of San Antonio, their Beat the Heat initiative. We just joined their call this morning to talk about what we’re doing in terms of keeping people safe. The City is working on making sure that information is getting out—not only for people, but pets as well.

Is 78 protective? I guess that’s my question for people’s health.

It kind of depends on the particular kind of situation of the person. Do they have ceiling fans? Do they have box fans? Do they have some other way to keep cool? I mean ceiling fans are, they don’t cool rooms, they cool people, right? Which is why we still give box fans away, like most of the utilities do, because that’s a means to ensure that that even if you’re at 78 … Like my house, I get home in the afternoon, and it’s warm. Warmer than I like. But you know, I’m part of the program. So we’ve got our ceiling fans going. Part of this happened almost immediately after I got through the initial phase of the Winter Storm Uri response. We started working on that color coding system almost immediately, because we recognized that what our communication lacked in the past was that call to action. And what those color codes really are intended to do is to tell people what they can do to be proactive about their own safety.

I agree with you, there are some people who can’t leave their homes. But for those who can, say the air conditioning runs out, we don’t want people sitting at their home without air conditioning. We want them to find a cooling center.

That’s why we started also doing our summer campaign inside VIA buses because we recognize we’re not partnering with, you know, the one primary location where people are going to be that we may not be getting to with our messaging. So when you get on a VIA bus you’re gonna see our messaging up there about our summer campaign. Because we want people to know what to do, what action they can take to keep themselves safe. We can’t just assume that somebody that finds themselves in the house without air conditioning is gonna know what to do. We’re trying really hard to teach them what options they have if they find themselves in that situation.

So yeah, but a box fan, I mean if you’re just pushing hot air on yourself…

Listen, believe me, I grew up in a home without air conditioning. You know, when I was eight years old, I was in my underwear on the old hardwood floors in my grandma’s house in front of a box fan that was in front of a screen door. Believe me, I lived it. I understand that better than anybody.

I have a friend, he’s an elderly man. He does not have air conditioning. But what he does is he puts a bag of rice in the freezer during the day and at night he puts it on his chest when he goes to sleep. And that’s how he cools his core. And I think that’s the kind of thing I’m thinking about. Because a fan, if it’s 78-80 degrees in your house, it’s not, you know, it’s not speaking to that. I’ll step off that. But that’s the kind of thing I’m thinking about.

Trying to be everything for everybody is real difficult for CPS Energy. What I want is, I want customers who need help to engage us. And then we go out and maybe we could find a window unit for a customer. Maybe we can get them better situated housing wise. We do those things every day. But the start is a customer telling us, ‘Hey, I’m struggling and I need help.’ And then we can reach out to the 200 agencies across the community who we work with every day to maybe get them in a better situation. But that’s the kind of thing when I get disconnected with Council, it’s the idea that, ‘Well, you should just find these people and go help them.’ Well, we’re trying. We’re knocking on doors. But there’s gonna be some people we will never get to if they don’t raise their hand and say, ‘Hey, I need help.’

So I can put some of this information like…

Literally, all you have to do is call our (210) 353-2222 number and we will connect them with our team who will go out and do an assessment and see how we can help them.

Let me ask since we’re coming down on time, the cool tech, the new tech. A lot of folks have been waiting for results from FlexPower Bundle and the RFP [Request for Proposals]. And now I’m excited to see some response. Let me ask specifically, there’s the geothermal component. I was reading MIT papers saying, you know what? This has been in the US. We have a lot of projects, but we’re not doing it well. We haven’t developed it well, but the potential is really high. That’s one. Also the geomechanical pumped hydro idea. We know these things work. Why has it taken so long to bring it to market? And then also for for us to step towards it?

A couple things are going on here. It’s always about opportunity meeting timing in the market. We’ve been working on this FlexPower Bundle deal for two years and I’m really proud that my team and I were able to get the 300 megawatts [of new solar power] signed. You know President Biden giving us a two-year moratorium on those tariffs is going to help us get the rest of the 600 megawatts done.

That makes a big difference.

We couldn’t get a deal papered because the industry didn’t have the certainty they needed that they weren’t going to get get hit with a tariff mid-process that was going to change their price point. So they quote us one price and the tariff hits them with a 25-percent increase that they haven’t factored into the contract and then they’re underwater. So, guess what? Everybody put a stop until they recognized what certainty they were going to get on the tariff side. So now that President Biden’s given us another two years, we’re getting these deals done. So, I expect that between now and in the end of the year we’ll get the majority of the rest of the 600 megawatts under contract. Now on the technology side, there’s a reason why we’re talking about Spruce 2 being converted. That’s the close-to-one-billion-dollar unamortized appreciation that I’ve got to do something with to make that transition affordably. I can probably get out of Spruce 2 quicker than I can get out of Spruce 1 if I can convert that unit to natural gas only because I cannot just walk away from it. I can’t do it. Just we can’t do it. Under any reasonable financial means, the burden on our ratepayers would be unreasonable to do that.

Unless Biden comes in and writes you a check for it.

Well, now, if somebody comes to write it off to us, that’s a different situation. And I will tell you that some of the folks that I’m talking to, we’re going to have these conversations with DOE because we believe the DOE has money to help us get there a little quicker. I am excited about some of the technology that we’ve seen, particularly geothermal, because geothermal uses similar technology that the oil and gas industry does that we can kind of leverage, right? And I do believe that on our Spruce 1 site we’ve got enough land and we’ve got got enough geothermal differences because of the lake that’s right there that I believe we have a sizable opportunity on geothermal. To do that, I’ve got to do like a 10MW to 15MW pilot project to test it to see at what price point can we actually produce the power and then how scalable it is. So I’m going to look at what it’s going to cost me to do geothermal and I’m going to compare it. And right now natural gas prices are high. That make solar more competitive; that makes geothermal more competitive. So now I’m not just looking at it relative to a cheap natural gas price. I’m looking at it relative to the price ERCOT market is paying saying, ‘Hey, this may be more competitive now that it’s ever been before.’ Now is the time to actually execute on a pilot project so that I can scale it up based on fact. I mean that’s the main thing.

People saying, ‘Oh, they’re all these technologies out there you could be utilizing.’ Yeah. I gotta make sure I can do it at price point that my customers can afford, which means I gotta test it in a way that allows me to limit my risk and then I can go big. And I think we’ve got potentially 2,000 megawatts of geothermal capacity on that Spruce 1 location, which I think is something that the US Department of Energy would want to get involved in.

So, we’re going to have that conversation. We’re going to talk to them about our desire to move away from coal and see what programs they might have to get us there. But there’s a process. I would tell you this about our long-term strategy: Not only do I need to replace our old gas steam units, you know, mainly Sommers and the Braunig units, and then layer on top of that the decision on Spruce—it’s about 3,000 megawatts. I gotta figure out how to replace that 3,000 megawatts and come up with probably another additional 2,000 megawatts. Because we’re growing—I think when you add it all up—about 100 megawatts a year here. And guess what else we got? We got electrification that’s coming. You know every fleet in San Antonio that wants to electrify is gonna double their load the minute they do. All these data centers that we’ve got. You can talk policy about whether or not we should be attracting data centers to San Antonio or not. But guess what? If they show up, I got an obligation to serve them. I have no right to turn a data center away. That’s the reality of being singularly certified. So they show up, I mean net 2,000 megawatts of additional capacity I need could be completely committed to data centers. The data mining is huge. I could put a power plant just to serve those facilities alone. And we got other stuff that’s getting old, too, by the way, that we’re going to have to replace probably in next 15 to 20 years. And then I got to figure out how I’m gonna meet that about 100 megawatts a year of additional growth.

These aren’t easy conversations. And what I want you and and folks who read your publication to understand is that we are going to continue to execute a diversification strategy. Why they built Spruce to begin with is because at the time natural gas prices were high. Spruce allowed us to protect ourselves against that. I understand because I was at another utility that was doing the same thing, right? The industry was trying to diversify because natural gas prices were so high. And guess what? We’re right there again. And now we don’t have coal to lean on anymore because everybody’s moving away from coal. The industry’s moving away from coal. So diversification in today’s environment means technological diversification, and we’re committed to that. And guess what? I’m gonna put our collective money where our mouth is and we’re gonna go test these technologies that we think have promise and we’re going to determine whether or not they’re going to work or not. And if they do, we’re gonna invest in those, right? I’m trying to get 50 megawatts of batteries under contract right now and I can’t get a deal papered. I cannot get a price commitment from our counterparties. And look: I’m bullish on batteries. We’re gonna figure this out. Even if I can’t get a deal done, guess what I’m gonna do? I’ll go to another utility who’s figured it out and I’ll say: ‘Hey, we want to partner with you on the projects that you’re doing.’ We’re gonna find battery capacity somewhere.

But you know when when the community says batteries are the answer, I can’t get a deal done right now. So, so batteries aren’t the answer until I can get a deal done.

Outside of the technological limitations and these bottlenecks that you’re experiencing, I hear you speaking kinda directly to readers, right? And so, one of my questions is really how, you know, suppose you’ve got 500 emails that, there’s a campaign coming, and it’s directed at who to break through to and get you the room that you need to achieve some of these best outcomes. What is your invitation to community? Where should we be pushing, in your opinion?

I think the community is pushing where it makes the most sense. You know, my board, ultimately City Council if it requires rate support, are the ones who are going to be making this decision. And that’s what I try to explain to everybody. I mean, you know, you can think what you want to about me and my leadership team. We’re in a different place than we’ve been before in terms of our open-mindedness about the future. Our industry is at the pinnacle of change that I’ve seen in 30 years. We gotta figure this out. That is the job that the community expects out of us. We gotta maintain reliability and we gotta maintain affordability as a gate into what the technological advancement looks like. But ultimately my board will make the call. So, you know, I think in the past CPS Energy has been, maybe fairly in some cases maybe unfairly in some cases, characterized as trying to kind of cook the books on what the answer is. I wanna give the community what they want. My goal is not to manipulate outcomes. My goal is to present the board with options based on the feedback I’ve gotten and based on data. And then I want the board to make a call. And then in the process we will also talk to the Municipal Utility Committee and ultimately City Council when it gets to that point. But my job is to take feedback from the community and to present our board with options that help us get there. And that’s what we’re gonna do.

So for anybody wanting to influence the process, talk to our board and come show up at public comment—and we’re trying to make those processes easier for people to come and talk to us.

And ultimately when we go to Council, I gotta make sure those outcomes that the board’s deciding upon align with what I think. I mean, look, I’m a political animal just by nature based on my background. My job is to get the three votes on my board and get a six votes on Council. I gotta create solutions that are gonna allow me to be successful.


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