CPS Energy: We can’t release super-secret electrical bills

CPS Energy: We can’t release super-secret electrical bills

My house, site of super-duper classified information
My house, site of super-duper classified information

Mayor Julian Castro and San Antonio City Council members are criticizing CPS Energy for failing to disclose the true financial costs of a proposed expansion at the South Texas Project nuclear plant. They’re asking why a city-owned utility can’t be more transparent.

All this cloak-and-dagger suspense reminded me of a weird encounter I had with CPS. What you are about to read is super-duper top secret:

In 2003 I was thinking about moving to a new house, and I had heard somewhere that you could ask your local utility about the past energy usage of a property, to get an idea about its energy efficiency and what your monthly bills might be.

So I sent a request to CPS for the past year’s electrical usage for the house. Harmless, right?

Apparently not at CPS. The utility asked Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office if it could withhold the information, claiming it was a competitive matter. And the AG agreed in this open-records ruling.

All these years later, I still don’t understand why CPS tried to withhold this “competitive” information. Anyone care explain? E-mail me if you want — it’ll be our secret.