Last session we reviewed evidence of the tyranny of a City staff led by City Manager Sheryl Sculley who is unconstrained by a feckless Mayor/City Council.
It is amid this administrative miasma that CPS Energy operates, an unelected bureaucracy victimizing its uninformed customer/owner/investor base — us.
But how did this corrupt (debased by change from an original condition), byzantine product of government run amok, originate? 1. CPS is an unregulated monopoly 2. CPS is a municipally-owned utility 3. CPS is “managed” by an unelected Board of Trustees 4. But who really runs CPS? 5. CPS policy: “renewables-at-any-cost” 6. CPS President Gold-Williams has told us what is wrong with CPS 7. Gold-Williams’ has a “plan” to ﬁx CPS’ problems 8. CPS spends our money as if it does not face a cash squeeze 9. CPS knows their 20-year Smart Grid ﬁnancial projection is wrong 10. CPS uses Smart Grid data to manage our behavior 11. Is Smart Grid vulnerable to hacking? You bet your life!
The San Antonio Current reports the introduction of the ideology that sparked CPS’ transition to renewable energy in its web-accessible April 8, 2009 article, www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/green-energy-workshop-leaves-enthusiasm-highexpectations-in-its-wake/Content?oid=2377180
Popular Mayor Phil Hardberger brought to San Antonio “visionary author, teacher and clean tech consultant,” Jeremy Rifkin just prior to the end of Hardberger’s term in May 2009. Based on intensive, City-sponsored Rifkin advocacy, CPS adopted Rifkin’s “four pillars” of the growing renewable energy movement: Renewable Energy Buildings as Possible Power Plants Hydrogen Storage Smart Grids and Plug-in Vehicles Unfortunately, Judge Hardberger lacked business experience and the awareness that consultants are, essentially, salesmen so he fell hard for Rifkin’s Gore-on-steroids presentation.
In common with all futurists, Rifkin was wrong and the extent of the wreckage ﬂowing from his ideology is currently being assessed. (More later) The San Antonio Current followed their introductory article with a September 27, 2011 article, Www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/jeremy-rifkin-on-san-antonio-the-european-union-andthe-lessons-learned-on-our-push-for-a-planetary-scale-power-shift/Content? oid=2242809 reporting that “Rifkin assembled an impressive panel of corporate leaders of Mayor Castro’s desired clean-tech revolution for a three-day San Antonio summit and prepared his ﬁrst master plan for making San Antonio that national clean-tech leader.”
During the Rifkin era, Mayors Hardberger and Castro encountered a political-economic fork in the road and chose politics, ignoring the immutable truth that “politics is for a term; economics is forever.” City Manager Sheryl Sculley, hired by Mayor Hardberger in November 2005, was a willing abettor of the Rifkin vision which promised a bigger role for government and government contractors.
Doyle Beneby became CPS President and CEO in August 2010. His selection was evidently guided by CPS’ May 2009 “four pillars” strategy, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and President Obama’s energy policy, “when I get done regulating coal, utility rates will necessarily skyrocket.” Economic aspects of Beneby’s renewables-at-any-cost strategy surfaced early when CPS refused to share the cost of their purchased wind- and solar-generated power.
In response to persistent inquiries, Beneby allowed the ﬁrst of three meetings with CPS management to evaluate the economics of CPS’ Smart Grid project. The ﬁrst was April 10, 2015; the last was August 26, 2015 when CPS refused to participate further.
Beneby’s visceral commitment to renewable energy was demonstrated by his use of the “Exempt Procurement” policy adopted by the Board of Trustees to limit to two the number of vendors allowed to bid on the Smart Grid project because the process was “…designed to promote clean energy and energy efﬁciency…” And, in 2011 Beneby met privately with Silver Spring President Scott Lang after which the 40,000 meter Landis+Gyr “Gridstream” market test was abruptly ended, and Silver Spring became a principal CPS vendor.
Beneby resigned October 2015 to become CEO of New Generation Power International, Inc. in Chicago (an independent renewable-based power generation company) but never joined that ﬁrm. His salary was increased by 11% as part of a total pay package of $739,400 in April 2015 just 6 months before his resignation.
Nora Chavez, CPS Board Chairman at the time: “What you may not know is that the board has never stopped pursuing Doyle, and our efforts to retain him have been relentless.” We do not know what future potential pulled Beneby from CPS; more importantly, we do not know what CPS reality pushed him to leave CPS.
CPS President Gold-Williams reports that Beneby left behind a real mess. Perhaps he foresaw the consequences of CPS’ ill-advised renewables strategy and left with an unsullied reputation.