SAN ANTONIO — The muddy, rainy and cold weather isn’t a bother for Bryan Jackson.
“Got mud on our boots and that’s what we’re used to,” Jackson said. “Good blue collar community.”
He and his Good Cluckin’ BBQ team are showing out at grills.
“Let’s take a look at the ribs,” Jackson said. “Looking beautiful almost ready for turn in.”
Jackson says higher energy bills this summer weren’t a surprise to him. But growing up on San Antonio’s East Side, he knows lower income families who were impacted. So he’s trying to lend a hand through this fundraiser.
“It’s more than just living, it’s living comfortably,” Jackson said. “We try our best as San Antonians to make sure everyone feels comfortable.”
The money raised here benefits the residential energy assistance partnership.
“Just this year alone we’ve been able to identify $55 million for customer who are in need and need assistance with their bill,” said Deanna Hardwick, CPS Energy’s executive vice president of customer strategy.
Through R.E.A.P., CPS Energy gives utility assistance to qualifying residents in San Antonio. Customers typically see lower bills in the winter. But this year is different.
“Relative to last winter, unfortunately we do see a bit of a bill increase this year,” said Chad Hoopingarner, CPS Energy’s vice president of financial planning, pricing & budgets.
Hoopingarner says the price of natural gas has almost doubled since this time last year. The war in Ukraine putting a strain on supply and demand.
“About half of our customers are combined electric and gas customers,” Hoopingarner said. “And we see those bills being maybe 20% higher than they were last winter.”
CPS was given $20 million in ARPA funding from the city to help customers stay afloat. Rising fuel cost isn’t just a Texas problem, but Jackson just wants to be a part of the solution for his community.
“I’ve got five sweaters on,” he said. “If I’ve got to give one off my back I will. We love to give back to our community.”