Advancing Energy Justice in San Antonio

Reforming the energy/housing nexus in San Antonio, report prepared by public health expert Tim Barr for the local climate justice community.

Noting many of Tim Barr’s recommendations, developed in partnership with the local climate justice community in 2021, have begun to be taken up in San Antonio policy discussions. Below the paper prepared by Barr for the local community are a series of webinars produced in 2021, much of which helped inform this final product.


  • Improve household energy efficiency.
  • Improve the CPS Energy critical care program.
  • Develop/implement performance-based metrics.
  • Cap household energy burdens.
  • Overhaul the arrearage management program.
  • Invest in community centers as climate resilience hubs.
  • Reduce or eliminate fixed charges.
  • Create an energy rating system focused on rental properties.
  • Revise CPS Energy rate structure.
  • Decentralize energy distribution.
  • Decouple CPS Energy revenue from energy delivery.


1. CPS Energy: Disaster, Debt, Disconnections

Guest: Tim Barr, public health specialist

Winter Storm Uri and the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed the deep inequities in San Antonio’s energy landscape. But we can fix this. Below is a conversation about energy justice, power insecurity, utility debt, and environmental racism hosted by local climate justice advocates. Tim Barr shares here best practices from other cities and helps develop shared analysis that will support specific, short and long-term policy recommendations for addressing household energy debt in San Antonio during the development of the above report.

PowerPoint is here. Research documents here.

ACTION 2: Winter Storm Uri Was a Housing Disaster. We can fix it.

Guests: Adam Jacobs, Optimal Energy; Ralph Garcia, Disability Rights Advocate

Days with no power from CPS Energy and temps frozen in the single digits taught us at least one thing: Energy disasters are housing disasters. Programs like free weatherization, insulation, demand response, and rooftop solar will make San Antonio more resilient to extreme weather events and can mean the difference between life and death. They can also be major jobs creators. It is time for a mass weatherization mobilization. Join the conversation. We Can Fix This. | Días sin energía de Energía CPS y temperaturas congeladas de un solo dígito nos enseñaron al menos una cosa: los desastres de energía son desastres de viviendas. Los programas como la climatización gratuita, el aislamiento de viviendas, la respuesta a la demanda, y la energía solar en el techo, harán que San Antonio sea más resistente a los eventos climáticos extremos y pueden significar la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte. También pueden ser importantes creadores de empleo. Es hora de una movilización masiva de climatización. Unase a la conversación. Podemos arreglar esto.

PowerPoint is here.

2. La tormenta invernal Uri fue un desastre para las viviendas. Podemos arreglarlo.

ACTION 3. Building Back Better: Community-led Energy Planning for a Time of Crisis

Guests: DeeDee Belmares, Public Citizen; Chrissy Mann, Sierra Club

CPS Energy’s Board of Trustees and our City Council are supposed to protect our communities by overseeing the operations of CPS Energy. Yet, just like the state Public Utility Commission, they failed us, plunging nearly 400,000 into freezing darkness. A community-led energy planning process is how we start making this right. Come help move us toward energy democracy and buld a safer San Antonio. | La junta de gobierno de CPS Energy y nuestro consejo municipal deberían proteger a nuestras comunidades al supervisar las operaciones de CPS Energy. Sin embargo, al igual que la comisión estatal de servicios públicos, nos han fallado, arrojando al frío y a las tinieblas a casi 400,000 personas. Podemos empezar a corregir estos errores mediante un proceso de planeamiento de recursos dirigido por la comunidad. Vengan y ayúdennos a avanzar hacia la democracia energética y a construir un San Antonio más seguro.

3. Reconstruyendo para una mejor recuperación

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