Photo: File / San Antonio Express-News
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CPS Energy has temporarily halted the practice of disconnecting services for residents who fail to pay their bills as the country grapples with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the city-owned utility said Wednesday.
Utility leaders made the decision after District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño and Mayor Ron Nirenberg called on CPS and San Antonio Water System to hold off on disconnecting services at an emergency City Council meeting Wednesday.
No cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in San Antonio outside of quarantined patients brought to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
But the city’s most vulnerable residents especially need running water during a health emergency that calls for residents to keep their hands washed to prevent any potential spread of the virus, Treviño said Wednesday’s meeting.
“These basic services are so critical to the health of our community,” Treviño said. “They seem simple, but they really have a huge impact.”
Mayor Ron Nirenberg agreed.
And, within hours, so did CPS.
“To support all our customers … effective immediately, we will suspend energy disconnects while our community bands together to find our path forward,” CPS CEO Paula Gold-Williams said.
SAWS hasn’t decided whether to follow suit. Officials at the water utility first heard of the proposal at Wednesday’s meeting, utility spokesman Gavino Ramos said. They will discuss the measure Thursday morning, he said.
Joshua Fechter is a staff writer covering San Antonio city government and politics. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | [email protected] | Twitter: @JFreports