Scott Ball / Rivard Report
The Denominator is a weekly brief of significant numbers underlying our latest news stories.
Bexar County Exceeds EPA Ozone Standard
74 parts per billion is San Antonio’s average ozone level calculated from 2015 to 2017, the period of record for the EPA’s decision that pushed Bexar County over the ozone standard. The standard is 70 parts per billion.
Under the federal Clean Air Act, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) must now put a state implementation plan into place, outlining ways to clean up San Antonio’s air.
One possible outcome of the new rating will be stricter regulations on industrial facilities moving to or expanding in San Antonio. Planning for new transportation projects might take an additional six to 18 months, as a result of the city’s new ozone level.
Hot Hot Heat
73,320 megawatts of demand for electricity broke the all time record on the Texas power grid, Thursday. The wattage exceeded demand for the second day in a row, according to preliminary figures from the state’s grid operator.
Several Texas cities recorded temperatures exceeding 100 degrees last week. Forecasts are predicting temperatures of 103 degrees or more according to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department, which issued a heat advisory Thursday.
To curb demand during peak hours, CPS Energy has employed incentive programs like My Thermostat Rewards, in which participating customers receive a free thermostat from the utility that allows it to adjust customers’ temperature settings remotely on exceptionally hot days, or during peak demand times.
San Antonio One Step Closer to Closing the Digital Divide
$400,000 is up for grabs as the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) advances to the next stage of Mozilla and the National Science Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Challenges, a national contest to address the digital divide.
According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey 38.2 percent of households lacked fixed internet access at home in San Antonio, ranking it the 15th worst connected city among those with a population of 100,000 or greater.
The Housing Authority’s proposed project, for which it has developed a prototype, calls for a Wi-Fi network to be powered by solar light poles installed at one of the organization’s low-income housing complexes.
The Housing Authority is one of 14 finalists for a second-stage award, and will compete with six other finalists in its category.
New Renovations Coming to City Hall
$38 million is the cost of an 18-month City Hall renovation process that will upgrade the aging facility, and will feature a new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramp at the front entrance.
City Council approved the renovation with an 8-3 vote in May after some debate over how the City is financing the project and whether the public should have a more direct say in the matter. The renovation is funded with non-voter-approved debt through the City’s 2017-2018 budget.