Public Power Week: 125th Anniversary documentary scheduled for virtual premiere Oct. 4

October 4, 2021

As part of Public Power Week Oct. 3-9, Austin Energy is premiering (virtually) its 125th Anniversary documentary — Lighting a Brighter Future. The 30-minute documentary feature film was originally slated to premiere in 2020 when the utility celebrated 125 years of service to Austin but was postponed due to the pandemic. 

The film features current and former Austin Energy employees, as well as customers and community leaders. It tells the story of how Austinites fought to establish their own electric utility in 1895 and follows Austin Energy through its next 125 years. For a sneak peek, view the documentary trailer here

The public is invited to tune in to Lighting a Brighter Future on Monday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. on Austin Energy’s YouTube channel.

“What better way to celebrate Public Power Week than by sharing Austin Energy’s rich history,” said Jackie Sargent, Austin Energy’s General Manager. “Public power utilities put the people first, and Public Power Week gives us the chance to emphasize the advantages of locally-grown, locally-owned power for our customers.”

Austin Energy celebrates Public Power Week along with more than 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 49 million Americans and jobs to 93,000 people. Five of the nation’s 20 largest cities own and operate their own electric utility — and Austin is one of them. Only two other city-owned utilities, San Antonio’s CPS Energy and Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power serve larger populations than Austin. 

Fun facts about public power:

• Austin Energy invests in the community we serve; its revenues help fund City of Austin services, such as public safety, libraries, and parks. 

• Austin Energy also serves the community by offering incentives and rebates that help lower bills and increase energy savings. 

• Public power customers pay an average of $160 less per year than investor-owned utility customers.

• In 2019, about 40 percent of public power-generated electricity came from non-carbon emitting sources, and as of December 2020, about 63 percent of Austin Energy customers’ electricity came from non-carbon emitting sources.

• The first public power utilities sprang up in the late 1800s to serve predominantly rural communities. 

• In Texas, there are 72 municipally owned utilities. 

Learn more about how public power makes Austin better