The City of Austin is one of few Texas municipalities who owns both our electric and water utilities. Austin Energy (AE) and Austin Water (AW) are integral to our strategic direction.
During 2020, AE and AW contributed to the progress we’ve made in the Health and Environment outcome strategy focused on investments in a variety of energy, water, and air quality programs and initiatives that emphasize conservation and environmental protection, and are aligned with our long-term environmental policy goals. In fact, both departments have been instrumental in helping us reduce our municipal carbon footprint.
Additionally, AE supported progress made in the Health and Environment measure related to energy consumption generated by renewable power sources which is trending positively and their work around and acquisition of Electric Vehicles (EVs) also supports our Mobility strategies, including the City’s efforts to acquire more City-owned battery-electric vehicles.
- Distributed more than $7.4 million in customer utility bill assistance to more than 14,000 households and increased the Customer Assistance Program discount to 15%.
- Adopted the Resource, Generation and Climate Protection Plan to 2030, including the REACH (Reducing Emissions Affordably for Climate Health) Plan, to achieve large-scale carbon reductions while protecting affordability.
- Responded with field crews to assist in electric restoration after Hurricane Hanna in South Texas and Hurricane Delta in Louisiana.
- Enrolled 400 limited-income customers in a shared solar pilot, resulting in roughly one-third of our residential solar customers being limited-income customers.
- Handled more than 2.4 million interactions with City residents and utility customers through the Utility Contact Center and 311.
- Celebrated our 125th Anniversary as Austin’s publicly owned utility; began servicing the community in 1895 by lighting the now iconic moonlight towers for the first time.
Field crews responding to Hurricane Delta
Green Building virtual inspector
- Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative awarded Austin Energy the Underserved Markets Award for its energy efficiency programs that help multifamily renters and lower-income consumers save on their energy bills.
- Austin Energy’s Green Building program honored by HIVE 50 Innovation in Housing as "The Pioneer."
- City of Austin honored by Green Builder Media as Sustainable City of the Year with specific recognition to Austin Energy Green Building.
- Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicle program awarded the 2020 E-Visionary Award from the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) and World Electric Vehicle Association (WEVA).
- Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicle program recognized as the 2020 Utility Industry Spotlight Award for Positive Change (Electrification) from Zpryme.
- Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicle program honored with the Drive Electric Award from Plug-In America.
- Delivered high-quality, reliable water services to the community throughout the COVID crisis by instituting safety protocols for our workforce to protect their health, while maintaining essential services.
- Provided temporary rate reductions for all customers, an additional $5 million to the Plus 1 assistance program, and extended reduced rates for the Customer Assistance Program (CAP) customers in response to COVID-19 impacts.
- Initiated implementation of a major demand management strategy identified in the Water Forward plan by launching pilot testing of My ATX Water: Austin’s Smart Water Meter System with 5,000 customers.
- Completed infrastructure improvements to mitigate zebra mussel impacts and prevent high turbidity events at all Water Treatment Plants, making Austin’s water system more resilient to natural threats.
- Began work on an Aquifer Storage and Recovery pilot project, an innovative Water Forward strategy, to ensure that future water needs are met despite climate projections for severe droughts.
My ATX Water meter install
Mitigating zebra mussel impacts
Davis Treatment Plant
Awards & Recognition
- Austin Water was recognized as a 2020 Utility of the Future Today for its commitment to Effective Utility Management principles and community outreach and engagement efforts during development and adoption of the Water Forward Integrated Water Resource Plan. The recognition program honors forward-thinking, innovative water utilities that are providing resilient value-added service to communities. The Utility of the Future Today program was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Reuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Austin Water received a letter of commendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the use of Effective Utility Management for strategic planning and continuous improvement. In the letter, James Horne, EPA’s Sustainable Utilities Program Manager, notes that our Effective Utility Management implementation is “among the most impressive” he has seen. The EPA is preparing to publish a case study on Austin Water’s Effective Utility Management initiative and plans to share the case study with other utilities around the country as an example of the leadership and vision exhibited by Austin Water every day.
- JD Power rankings improved significantly. Austin Water uses JD Power surveys to measure customer satisfaction in the following categories: Quality & Reliability, Price, Communications, Conservation, Customer Service, and Billing & Payment. The latest survey wave results for Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction shows an astounding increase from 690 in 2018, to the current score of 759. Specifically, Austin Water has seen improved satisfaction levels for every category since the study began in 2016. Austin Water’s scores place the utility above the industry average for 90 peer utilities nationwide. For the first time since the study began, Austin Water is ranked above other Texas utilities in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.
- “AA” bond rating reaffirmed with “stable” outlook by our rating agencies