Coming Soon: Stimulus Checks for San Antonio? San Antonio, Texas, residents may be about to receive another round of stimulus checks, courtesy of a proposal by City Manager Erik Walsh.
On Wednesday, Walsh announced that he plans to issue a proposal during a Thursday council meeting about next year’s budget. The proposal, which was indeed introduced the next day, includes a fresh round of stimulus checks paid for by additional energy revenue.
The city of San Antonio owns CPS Energy, a municipal electric utility that serves more than 840,000 customers across the city. The company also provides gas to more than 350,000 customers. Over the summer, high temperatures have led to an increase in the use of electricity, causing pain for hundreds of thousands of customers already struggling with the rising cost of food and consumer goods.
“Folks have seen extraordinarily high utility bills, we have seen extraordinarily high revenue,” Walsh said this week.
As a result of the higher-than-expected energy usage, the city expects to receive more than $75 million in additional revenue from CPS Energy, and Walsh wants to give some of that money back. The additional revenue is even greater than the $35 million that the city anticipated when weather forecasts began to predict temperatures surpassing 100 degrees throughout the summer. The final figure of $75 million is expected to be reached by Sept. 30, before the end of the fiscal year.
Stimulus Checks: Walsh’s Proposal
Out of the $75 million in additional revenue, Walsh proposes that $50 million be made available in credits to all CPS Energy commercial and residential customers. The credits would be available to any customers, inside or outside the City of San Antonio.
Walsh recognized that the credits won’t completely cover the increased costs customers have been forced to pay – but the measure should provide some relief.
“This is not going to wipe away anybody’s outstanding balances, it’s not going to pay anybody’s complete utility bill,” the city manager said. “It is the city as the owner of CPS recognizing the extraordinary position that everybody finds themselves in and doing our part.”
Under the proposal, each customer would receive a credit of 13.3% of the value of their July energy usage. The direct repayments to customers would be capped at $45 million, with the additional $5 million being directed to the Residential Energy Assistance Program, a scheme designed to help low-income customers.
Stimulus Checks: Will It Happen?
The San Antonio City Council is expected to decide on the proposed measure before Sept. 1.
The Council will also consider alternative proposals, including one from District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo, who suggested that the revenue should instead be used to invest in new ways to protect the city from extreme weather and future high energy bills.
“We must also take this opportunity to address energy poverty by helping our most vulnerable residents achieve utility bill relief for years to come and protect them during severe weather events,” Bravo said.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.