CPS Energy's Doyle Beneby was on the hot seat for two hours before City Council today, answering questions on the full range of the utility's operations, from the controversial executive bonuses to the utility's success in branching out into alternative fuels, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Beneby is lobbying council to approve a 4.75% rate increase, but he told council today he will reduce the size of the rate hike.  He didn't say how large the proposed reduction will be.


  Beneby also told council members that he plans additional adjustments to the bonus program.


  "The 25% reduction in our bonus program, our incentive program, will be redirected to long term assistance," he said.


  Beneby said the bonus program was actually a big chunk of the pay of upper level CPS Energy employees, as an attempt to make them more accountable for the decisions that they make.


  Beneby was also grilled about problems with CPS Energy's customer service operations over the summer.


  "That one we own, I own, that was completely self inflicted," he said.  "It was nothing extraneous, I think we underestimated the unintended consequences."


  Beneby also said the new EPA rules which severely restrict pollution from new coal fired power plants will not have an impact on CPS Energy's operations.


  "For us, it should be no impact, the only impact would be if, at some point, the EPA applies that rule to existing coal plants," he said.


  Beneby also said the utiltiy is working to provide better community outreach in Spanish, and is working to expand its footprint of alternative fuels.


  Council will vote on the rate increase next month.