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 2021, AE and AW contributed to the progress made in the Economic Opportunity & Affordability outcome strategy. The Utilities worked to provide over $9.5 million in bill relief to help the community rebound from Winter Storm Uri. Additionally, despite the winter storm, AE customers did not see any significant electric rate increase, and most customers will receive a rate reduction in 2022.
Additionally, both utilities supported progress made in the Health and Environment Outcome through investments in a variety of energy, water, and air quality programs and initiatives that emphasize conservation and environmental protection which are aligned with long-term environmental policy goals.
- Provided $9.7 million in utility bill relief to help 13,000 customers impacted by COVID-19 and/or Winter Storm Uri (figures as of Sept. 30, 2021).
- Avoided any significant electric rate increase. In fact, most customers will receive a rate reduction in 2022.
- Handled nearly two million interactions with City residents and utility customers in the first nine months of 2021 through the Utility Contact Center and 311.
- Collaborated with Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to add 1.8MW of locally-generated, renewable energy as part of Austin Energy’s Community Solar program. The solar array generates enough solar energy to power up to 160 homes per year.
- Installed and energized more than two dozen electric vehicle fast chargers in Austin—all of which are powered by 100% clean Texas energy through Austin Energy’s GreenChoice® program.
- Moved into modern and sustainable headquarters in the Mueller area. The new HQ accommodates 800-plus employees and has allowed Austin Energy to consolidate from three buildings into one. The building is pursuing LEED Platinum, Austin Energy Green Building 5-star and International WELL Building Institute™ Silver certifications.
- Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) 2021 Utility Transformation Leaderboard which recognizes the ten utilities in the nation that have demonstrated the greatest progress in the transition.
- Texas Public Power Association’s 2021 System Achievement Award for Austin Energy’s work to provide customers with bill assistance through the pandemic and residential bill relief following the winter storm.
- Expanding Excellence Award at the Customer Service Conference for improvements to the customer experience by expanding payment channel offerings to customers.
- Ranked 4th in Green Power Sales and 6th in Green Power Customers by the National Renewable Energy Lab.
- 2021 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award Winners in Texas for Energy Efficiency Program Delivery which includes marketing and communications efforts to grow and promote residential energy efficiency programs for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® and the Weatherization Assistance program.
- American Public Power Association’s Excellence in Public Power Communications Award for Move Over, Slow Down public safety campaign.
- Chartwell’s Gold Communications Award for Austin Energy’s EV Buyer’s Guide, an interactive experience that allows potential EV drivers to browse real-time inventory of locally available new and used electric vehicles and compare models based on their individual needs and budget.
- Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's (SECC) Consumer Engagement Award for 2021 awarded to Austin Energy’s Electric Vehicle program.
- Smart 50 Award for 2021’s Most Influential Smart Projects for Austin Energy’s EV auto dealership initiative.
- Secured low-interest loans from the Texas Water Development Board, saving nearly $7 million in financing costs for major infrastructure improvements that will enhance resilience to extreme events.
- Contributed an additional $5 million to the Plus 1 assistance program and extended reduced rates for CAP customers in response to COVID-19 impacts.
- Provided over $6.5 million in bill relief to mitigate high bills due to dripping faucets, leaks, or broken pipes and help the entire community rebound from Winter Storm Uri.
- Established innovative financial assistance to renters without a dedicated account, saving $200 annually for 23,000 customers who have traditionally been ineligible for the Customer Assistance Program (CAP).
- Initiated an Onsite Water Reuse Pilot to incentivize onsite systems that collect, treat, and reuse rainwater, stormwater, graywater, drainage, air conditioning condensate, or blackwater for non-potable purposes.
Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
Awards & Recognition
- Texas Section American Water Works Association’s Conservation & Reuse Award and Bob Derrington Reclamation Award for the OSCAR & CLARA Onsite Water Reuse Demonstration Project at the City of Austin Permitting & Development Center. This fit-for-purpose rainwater and air-conditioning condensate reuse system supplements the building’s closed-loop blackwater recycling system and is anticipated to save the City of Austin almost 1.5 million gallons of drinking water annually, and reduce the site’s potable water use by 75%.
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)’s Gold Peak Performance Awards to Austin Water’s Walnut Creek and South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plants. Gold Awards are presented to facilities with no National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit violations for the entire calendar year. The NPDES permit program, created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, helps address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the U.S. This NACWA recognition honors Austin Water’s everyday commitment to ensuring that Austin’s wastewater is cleaned into high quality effluent before being safely returned to the Colorado River.
- First Place in the People’s Choice Category of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Outstanding Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development Competition for AW Wildlands Conservation Division project that manages stormwater runoff in sensitive habitat areas in its Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.
- Watermark Award for Communications Excellence from the Water Environment Association of Texas and the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association for public education video called “Sing Along With Dowser Dan.”
- Watermark Honorable Mention from the Water Environment Association of Texas and the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association for the public education video called “What Goes Into Your Water Bill?”
- 2021 Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Award for Excellence for the use of “Debt Management Strategies to Deliver Affordable Water Service.” This award program recognizes innovative programs that contribute to the practice of government finance and exemplify outstanding financial management.