Rate Payers Community Fund
As you read this, our municipally owned utility CPS Energy is gearing up to raise our utility rates and to continue their legacy of disconnections for residential ratepayers. Many San Antonio residents, especially frontline and low wage workers, continue to grapple with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, winter storm URI, lifelong and generational cycles of poverty, segregation, red lining, racism, discrimination and environmental pollutants, all at the hands of systems our dear city is deeply entrenched in and actively promotes.
CPS Board of Trustee Ed Kelly said in a recent public meeting that disconnections must continue, adding that people have had enough time to get back on their feet since the onset of the pandemic and boasted about his own experience with poverty and how he pulled himself up by the bootstraps and exclaimed that it’s time CPS energy ratepayers do the same.
The reality is that pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and suggesting that the problem is that marginalized communities are not working hard enough is based in structural and systemic racism, especially when we factor in that the city of San Antonio and CPS Energy ratepayers are largely non-white. This kind of thinking is racist and completely out of touch with our community.
Many frontline workers continue to earn poverty wages without hazard pay and when extreme weather events like winter storm URI bear down on our city, workers, without paid time off and benefits, lose wages. Fear of disconnections pushes community members toward extreme measures to pay their utilities. Oftentimes sacrificing other basic necessities to avoid disconnections.
For all these reasons, Southwest Workers Union, Centro Por La Justicia will be launching a community fund for ratepayers to help pay down community utility debt accrued by ratepayers who have suffered economic hardships since the onset of the pandemic and to those who have still to recover from winter storm URI.
Right now, we have the capacity to help 155 ratepayers pay down their CPS Energy bills.
We will continue to organize around eliminating utility debt and changing the structural system of our public utility even after CPS spent close to half-a-million dollars taking the grassroots and community led #recallcps petition to court. CPS silenced 16,000 voters who signed onto the petition which called for a more democratic board of trustees, no rate hikes and for the closure of the dirtiest polluter in the city, Spruce Coal Plant by 2030.
We know that the next disaster will not wait for policy to catch up with the needs of the community. We must come together to offer mutual aid and to support one another.
To apply follow the link: https://www.swunion.org/communityfund
Support this Fund: Every donation allows for a household to become closer to financial autonomy, this can include cooling during the hotest months of the year, and reducing the mental burden on the whole family. Resiliency means survivial as well as thriving and laughing.