Austin Energy At-A-Glance
Serving Austin Since 1895
Customer Driven. Community Focused.
Austin Energy is an enterprise of the City of Austin. Community-owned since 1895, it provides electric power and retail energy services to the Greater Austin area. The Austin City Council sets rates and terms and conditions of service. Austin Energy is part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Five of the nation’s 20 largest cities own their electric utility. Only two other cities — the City of San Antonio and the City of Los Angeles — are larger in population than Austin. In the United States, 2,020 public entities, mostly cities, own their own electric utilities. Together, public power serves 49 million Americans.
All revenues of Austin Energy come from the sale, distribution and transmission of electric power and provision of chilled water. In FY 2016, total revenues were $1.38 billion. Revenue has increased in recent years, primarily from growth in industrial load.
Base rates are typically reviewed every five years, although the utility has gone as long as 18 years without a base rate increase. Pass-through rates to cover highly variable costs are usually set annually. The largest variable cost is the Power Supply Adjustment (PSA). The PSA has trended down over the past several years.
|Fiscal Year||Operating Revenue|
Austin Energy earns no profits and pays no federal income taxes. All revenues benefit the customers of Austin Energy and the residents of the City of Austin. The primary financial benefit to the City of Austin is Austin Energy’s transfer to the General Fund, which is allocated by elected Council Members to municipal purposes such as police, fire and parks. The amount is set by policy and has ranged from $105 million to $109 million in recent years.
Austin Energy customers are primarily residential (89%); 11% are commercial and industrial customers. Customer growth has been strong for many years. Customer growth has exceeded electric sales growth because Austin Energy incentivizes customers to reduce their electric power usage and save money.
|Fiscal Year||Total Customers||Total MWh Sales||Total $ Sales|
|2016||461,343||12.874 million||$1.20 billion|
|2015||450,443||12.674 million||$1.20 billion|
|2014||439,403||12.572 million||$1.25 billion|
|2013||430,582||12.305 million||$1.19 billion|
|2012||422,370||12.534 million||$1.07 billion|
|Customers||FY 2012||FY 2013||FY 2014||FY 2015||FY 2016|
Traditional Generation Infrastructure
Unlike many other municipal utilities, Austin Energy owns and operates power plants. It owns natural gas fueled power generation facilities and owns interests in a coal plant and a nuclear-powered plant. As with all power producers within ERCOT, all output is sold to the ERCOT market at prices set by the competitive market.
|Name||Type||Year of Newest Unit||Rating in Megawatts|
|Sand Hill||Gas – Combined cycle combustion and gas turbine||2010||588 MW|
|Decker||Gas – Gas turbine and steam unit||1988||935 MW|
|Mueller||Gas turbine||2006||5 MW|
|Fayette Power Project||Coal||1980||600 MW (Austin share)|
|South Texas Project||Nuclear||1989||436 MW (Austin share)|
Renewable Generation Infrastructure, Off-Site Power and Storage, and Energy Efficiency
Austin Energy is a leader in adopting innovative technologies and the use of renewable energy. In 2017, Austin Energy offset almost 40% of the carbon associated with the electric consumption with production of solar, wind and biomass energy produced by private power companies. The offset will reach 51% offset by 2020 and 65% by 2027.
For the United States as a whole, renewable power represents less than 10% of power production.
- Chilling Stations — Austin Energy operates three central chilling stations for air conditioning use in downtown and other high-density areas. This operation moves peak electric use to non-peak periods to save money.
- Power Storage — In early 2018, Austin Energy installed a major 1.5-megawatt battery for distribution-level power storage from renewable and other resources.
- Energy Efficiency — Austin Energy also has made steady progress in energy efficiency for more than three decades. Today, Austin Energy has the lowest average residential kilowatt-hour use in ERCOT (second-lowest in Texas).
Austin Energy owns and operates a high-voltage transmission system to move electricity from power generation facilities to substations for distribution. The transmission system is utilized by Austin Energy, as well as other utilities within ERCOT, with rates regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Transmission revenue is earned from utilities within ERCOT, including Austin Energy, and not directly from retail customers.
Austin Energy finished FY 2016 with 623 miles of transmission lines and 13 transmission-level substations.
The highly visible role of Austin Energy is to safely and reliably distribute electricity from its substations to customers’ homes and businesses throughout the Austin area.
Austin Energy finished FY 2016 with 11,591 miles of distribution lines and 61 distribution-level substations.
Austin Energy spends millions a year to maintain, replace and modernize its distribution system. As a result, outages experienced by customers are relatively few and short, compared to industry standards.
|Standard||First Quartile Consulting Industry Average||FY 2016 Austin Energy Metrics|
|SAIFI — The average number of times a customer’s service was interrupted||1.09 interruptions||0.68 interruptions|
|SAIDI — The average duration in minutes||115.52 minutes||48.87 minutes|
|SATLPI — The average number of faults on each transmission line per 100 miles||4.0 faults||4.00 faults|
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