San Antonio City Council will take a vote this week on whether to jack up your electric bills, and at least one member of council is not convinced that the utility has properly justified the rate hike request, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  “We do want to invest in capital projects and make sure our system works well, but I also want to make sure our system stays efficient,” Northeast side Councilman Carlton Soules said.


  CPS Energy has been fighting for months to win approval of the rate increase, which the utility says is needed to meet the up front costs of new growth, especially n the city’s north side.  CPS Energy says the costs of building new substations and stringing new electric lines is not offset by the revenue coming in from new customers.


  But a wide array of opponents has criticized CPS Energy for alleged inefficiency.  The utility has responded by making significant cuts in an executive bonus program, and agreeing to use that money to improve its Residential Energy Assistance Program for low income households.


  But Soules says all of the actions by CPS Energy have only dug the utility a deeper hole.


  “As I dig into it and look at all the questions we need to be asking, they just raise more questions,” he said. “I am not sold yet.”


  Soules says it wants the utility to do more to justify its massive and controversial investment in solar energy.  The utility has partnered with several firms who are building large solar plants around town.  Soules says he wants to know ‘the direct impact to customers’ of the solar power investment, so they can decide if the solar energy commitment justifies paying a higher monthly rate for electricity.