Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

CEO of CPS Energy addresses Texas power grid concerns

Courtesy of CPS Energy

In an interview with the CEO and president of CPS Energy, Rudy Garza, The Paisano asked questions regarding the Texas power grid and what Texans should anticipate this winter. Garza discussed CPS’ future objectives and ambitions.

According to their website, CPS Energy is “the nation’s largest community-owned provider of electric and natural gas services.” They aim to provide 930,114 electric and 381,379 natural gas customers in San Antonio with safe and reliable services. 

When asked if Texans should expect or brace for power outages this winter, Garza stated, “I feel pretty good that we’re gonna be able to get our jobs done.”

 He explained that the meteorologists with CPS ensure that their weather predictions for the winter are accurate and up-to-date. Currently, their meteorologists are anticipating a cold and wet winter. Although temperatures are expected to drop immensely, it will not be for an extended amount of time.

 “I feel good that we’ll do the work that is needed to take care of San Antonio,” Garza said. 

Garza also explained the backroom operations used by CPS to actively maintain the operation of the power facilities. 

“We take plants offline to do the work that needs to be done so they’re ready,” Garza said. “We have to take plants offline between October [and] mid-December to be able to get our plants ready for the winter. We actually have to declare to the state that we have done our jobs.” 

During this break, plants are guaranteed to receive the necessary maintenance to withstand periods of peak electricity demand. 

CPS has made investments to diversify the sources of natural gas in order to ensure that there is an adequate supply. 

We have diversified our gas suppliers to the point where we have a lot more options [for] getting into our system, especially for the winter,” Garza said. 

According to Garza, CPS is attempting to gather more gas from the southern regions of Texas. However, their main sources of gas are still the Permian Basin in west Texas and the Houston Ship Channel. More gas storage space can be created, and collections from various regions of Texas enable a safety net in the event that suppliers experience problems. 

Garza is optimistic that CPS will complete the task this winter. “Overall, I feel good that we’ve done enough over the last few years from a policy standpoint.” He explained that despite all of CPS’ efforts, there are certain external circumstances that might still have an impact on everyone. 

The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is a membership-based non-profit that manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texans. CPS and ERCOT work closely together, as CPS buys and sells power through ERCOT. 

“If ERCOT gets into a situation where we’re short on power, then that affects everybody. So I can’t control what’s happening outside of San Antonio. What I can feel good about is that we will be prepared.” 

Even with confidence in the grid, Garza stressed that it is crucial to have backup in case the electricity goes out. 

CPS intends to keep all communities informed through a color-coded system that will be distributed to consumers on a daily basis. These colors will suggest whether or not it would be prudent for customers to practice energy conservation. 

“We have a color-coded system that we send out to our customers almost every day — when we’re [on] a green day, which means that everything is good. Or we’re [on] a yellow day, which means you should conserve, but only voluntarily.” 

Garza stated that in the event of an emergency, he would inform the public of what may be done to guarantee their protection. 

“If we’re in a situation where there’s some emergency going on, you will see me standing next to the city manager and our elected officials — for vulnerable populations in our community, they’ll actually go out into the community and start knocking on doors to let them know what is going on,” he said.

 Customers will have many opportunities to stay informed thanks to the information and resources posted on the CPS website and social media. Visit to stay up-to-date with any further updates regarding the state of the Texas power grid. 

ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas has expressed concerns about the state’s network of outdated gas and coal-fired facilities being replaced too rapidly by renewable energy. Garza believes that new power plants should be built while aging facilities should be decommissioned. 

“Pablo is a friend of mine and really was a great hire by ERCOT,” he said. “I have great confidence that he’s doing his part to make sure that our system is reliable.” 

Garza also stated that a shortage of new plants will result in strain during the peak energy season. 

“No new natural gas plants — not a lot — maybe 1500 megawatts have been built. So we’re getting further and further behind,” he said. “We’re not growing our generation base, which is why we get tight in the summer and winter times — the state of Texas has to get involved in policies that are going to move us in the right direction.”

Garza spoke on CPS’s plan to close the last coal plant and transition to more renewable energy by 2028. CPS has a climate action strategy in place to reduce its carbon footprint and mitigate the effects of climate change. The first step of which will be the closure of an older coal facility such as Spruce 1. 

“We have a climate action and adaptation plan here in San Antonio — regardless of what you believe about climate change, the winter weather patterns are getting more extreme,” Garza said. “We’re investing in solar, we’re investing in battery storage, [and] we’ll continue to invest in natural gas, which is a cleaner-burning fuel that will help us continue to move our carbon footprint in the right direction.” 

According to Garza, the most difficult aspect of transitioning to renewable energy is obtaining the necessary resources. 

“When I go into city council and our board and ask to review our rates to ensure we have what we need to get work done. Nobody likes a rate increase, but it’s necessary when you’re trying to make these big investments to accomplish.”

Lastly, Garza wants to encourage young people to understand the energy space and get involved. He hopes to have a symposium where students can speak to him and create some Q&A. 

“I like to encourage students at UTSA and every other college to get involved, and pay attention to what’s going on, and develop their own opinions about these things.” 

CPS customers should visit for updates on power outages, emergency preparedness tips or to sign up for energy alerts. For tips on energy conservation and winter preparedness, visit and

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Kara Lee
Kara Lee, Graphic Editor
Kara is a communication major on track to graduate in 2025. After graduating they hope to work for non-profits that specialize in environmental concerns so they can give back to the planet that provides so much for us. When Kara is not in school or working they can be found either drawing or hiking.

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