July 6, 2010
Austin Energy’s Electric Delivery Unit Receives International Quality Management Designation
Austin Energy’s Electric Service Delivery division accomplished a major milestone this past week by being recommended by external auditors to receive recertification of its ISO 9001 registration that signifies the business unit practices quality management standards that are accepted and followed by some of the best managed companies in the world.
Electric Service Delivery (ESD) is the Austin Energy unit which builds, maintains and operates the electric system in Austin. ESD was the first electric utility distribution and transmission operation in the nation to receive certification from the International Organization for Standardization three years ago. Companies with the designation must reapply every three years and pass reviews by external auditors to retain the registration.
ESD is Austin Energy’s largest division with an almost $70 million operating and maintenance budget, a $90 million Capital Improvement Project budget, and about 550 employees. In a five-year benchmark study conducted last year of 27 utilities in the U.S. that included Oncor (Dallas), CenterPoint (Houston), CPS San Antonio, and Seattle City Light, Austin Energy ranked first for reliability with power outages averaging only 49.54 minutes in duration versus 164.97 minutes for other participating companies in the top quartile. Austin Energy also recorded a 0.65 average for number of outages per customers annually versus a 1.34 average for the other utilities in the top quartile.
Austin Energy also has been named a TreeLine USA utility for nine years in a row by the National Arbor Day Foundation for following best practices in tree trimming, having an active tree planting program as well as public education initiatives on how to plant and take care of trees. Each year, Austin Energy oversees the tree trimming along 400 miles of power lines involving about 12,000 properties to prevent trees from making contact with power lines and causing outages. The utility also funds the planting of more than 5,000 trees annually to beautify neighborhoods and to reduce the urban heat island effect.
In the recertification audit, conducted by external auditors with the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the auditors in their report noted ESD’s effective use of corrective and preventive action procedures as well as effective internal auditing. The ISO registration is a series of international quality standards designed to ensure that all activities related to providing and delivering a product are performed according to established standards and are quality assured and documented. An official re-registration announcement is expected in 30 days.
Austin Energy’s second largest division, Customer Care, also received ISO 9001 designation earlier this year making fully two-thirds of Austin Energy’s overall operations ISO certified.