CPS Energy, SAWS officials update city on steps being taken to prevent winter outages

FORT WORTH, TX – FEBRUARY 16: Pike Electric service trucks line up after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Are CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System ready for the next winter storm?

Both utilities say they’ve made major improvements to keep the lights on and water flowing if there’s another storm like the February freeze.

But they say state officials, ERCOT, and the natural gas industry have all fallen short.

“If we have another big winter storm is a CPS Energy ready?” asks News 4 Reporter Joe Galli.


Paul Barham says, “We are well prepared. I cannot predict the future for any type of event but we have looked at all the shortfalls from winter storm Uri and we feel like we’re in a really good spot right now.”

Leadership with CPS Energy and San Antonio Water System took several hours today to outline the improvements made so far since the February winter storm.

Paul Barham, the Chief Grid Optimization and Resiliency Officer with CPS Energy says our power plants have been winterized, there are new programs in place to rotate outages during a major storm so fewer people are without power for and less time.

The utility has increased its natural gas supply to keep plants running and not have to rely on what could be a repeat of jacked up natural gas prices during an emergency.

“Our fuels group has procured additional gas supply, additional gas transport as well as additional gas storage capacity which we believe should put us in a really good place,” says Barham.


Robert Puente, the CEO of SAWS tells Galli the utility is prepared to keep water flowing even in freezing temperatures.

But he still thinks a lot needs to be done from the state level despite Governor Greg Abbott saying the state is ready on Monday.

“Is there a chance that their water won’t be running if we get another big winter storm?” asks Galli.

Puente says, “That all depends on ERCOT and on the governor who said everything is fine but we really don’t know. What we have to make sure is we have natural gas and electricity to move the water so that’s really incumbent on the state to make sure that they did what they were supposed to do.”

“Natural gas got away with everything there are no regulations and no changes necessary on the natural gas industry. It’s all been put on municipal providers like CPS and SAWS.”

CLICK HERE to view the Municipal Utilities Committee Reports.

Written by Joe Galli

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