City of San Antonio, CPS Energy looking to align repair and weatherization programs

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio is considering ways to help struggling CPS Energy customers fix up their homes enough to qualify for a free weatherization program.

CPS Energy has helped weatherize more than 30,000 homes through its Casa Verde program, which helps improve a home’s energy efficiency through adding insulation, replacing light bulbs, and sealing windows and doors.

Customers must fall below certain income thresholds to qualify for the program, but their homes must also be in good enough shape to get the treatment.

Jesse Hernandez, senior director of Equity, Community Strategy and Engagement for CPS Energy, said about 30% of customers who qualify financially hit that hurdle “because there’s structural issues, active roof leaks, electrical and plumbing issues.”

The average cost to repair those disqualifying issues is about $2,400 to $2,500. But since the customers have to make little enough to qualify in the first place, it’s “not very realistic” to expect they’ll be able to make the repairs themselves.

While the utility says it has some funds to assist with minor repairs, the City of San Antonio has also been looking at how it can align some of its programs, such as its repair programs.

Discussions are still underway, said the city’s chief financial officer, Ben Gorzell, during a Tuesday meeting of the city council’s Municipal Utilities Committee.

The committee’s chairman, District 9 Councilman John Courage, suggested that homes chosen for the utility’s weatherization program that need minor repairs be moved to the “front of the line” for the city’s minor repair fund.

Interim District 7 Councilwoman Rosie Castro has also suggested the city use some of the money it gets from CPS Energy to help fund the repairs for the disqualified homes in the weatherization program.

The city council is expected to discuss its sustainability programs at a meeting next week.

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