in Houston, Texas
Public utility used ratepayers’ money for donation to Texas GOP: News 4 WOAI in San Antonio
Monday, Aug 15, 2011, 12:01PM CST
By Mike Cronin
CPS meter

San Antonio public's public utility gave $5,000 of customer money to the Texas Republican Party, Brian Collister with News 4 WOAI reports. Because of that story, CPS Energy requested and received a refund.

Collister found the donation while searching CPS Energy expense reports. The utility provides electricity and gas services to customers.

“I certainly don't want my money going to any political party, especially in light of what my electric bill is,” Bob Martin, president of the Homeowner Taxpayer Association of Bexar County, told Collister.

From the story:
“There's no question that the expenditure is completely out of line,” San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said. “That is not the way ratepayers’ money should be spent. That was the first time in the history of CPS Energy that anything like that has happened, in terms of a political contribution. And it will be the last time.”

When News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooter Brian Collister sat down with CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby, it was obvious he was embarrassed about the donation since he was brought in by Mayor Castro and the CPS board to improve transparency at the city owned utility.

“We had vetted the issue before internally, just in our Government Affairs Department, and it was deemed to be legal and proper,” Doyle Beneby explained. “I think our mistake was we didn't vet it with our legal group. And for that I have full accountability and responsibility.”
Read more about CPS Energy, including a trip to Israel taken by CPS and city of San Antonio officials and the cushy salaries your rates are supporting. And view the full WOAI report below:

Contact Mike Cronin at or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of CPS Energy worker repairing a meter box by flickr user Photography JW, used via a Creative Commons license.
tired dog
Tuesday, 08/16/2011 - 08:57AM

I'd hazard a guess that the power company's management is just greasing the powers that be (Rs run the state house right now, if the Ds did they'd have gotten the contri) to make sure no legislation interferes with their rapacious little business.

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