It's going to be an expensive week for San Antonio homeowners.
1200 WOAI news reports City Council today will hear a recommendation on a proposed water rate increase from the San Antonio Water System, and tomorrow is expected to vote to approve an electric rate increase from CPS Energy.
SAWS' Greg Flores says their rate request is significantly trimmed from what was originally proposed.
"We could not come back to Council with a 13 1/2 percent rate increase like we had projected," Flores said. "So we went back to work and were able to reduce ten million dollars in costs from that budget that we had proposed back then."
SAWS will now request a rate increase of a little more than 5%, and Flores says that will jack about three bucks onto the average monthly bill.
"There are two primary benefits that our ratepayers are going to get from this rate increase," he said. "One is, additional water supplies. The other is that we will have a much improved sewer system."
Then, tomorrow, Council is expected to approve a controversial 4 1/2 percent increase in CPS Energy rates.
"I know that nobody likes a rate hike," Mayor Julian Castro said. "I also know that San Antonio will still have some of the lowest rates in the nation for a big city."
Castro says one of the things that SAWS customers are paying for now is the utility's unwillingness to raise rates in the past.
"We have a spectacular example of what happens when you under invest in our sewer system," he said. "It starts to fall apart."
Northeast side Councilman Carlton Soules says he will grill CPS Energy on the wisdom of it's aggressive push toward solar power in its recent partnership with OCI Solar and other firms which are building huge solar arrays around the city.
CPS Energy's Christine Patmon says the utility has solid answers.
"We are investing in renewables for cleaner energy," she said. "The strategy first and foremost is to protect our customers from higher costs associated with environmental regulatory risks."
She says there is a 'huge community benefit' in CPS Energy's investment in solar.
"Utilities are investing in renewables and our strategy is being praised nationally because we are not only investing, but driving economic development, jobs, and educational investment as a result," she said. "Its a unique model that others are looking at but it is not easy to duplicate."