Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas


Power lines tower over an intersection in downtown Austin. Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News.

All About Austin Energy


Austin Energy is a public utility company in Texas with more than 400,000 customers in Austin and parts of Travis and Williamson Counties, providing service to nearly 1 million people. The company is publicly owned and returns annual dividends to the City of Austin that amount to about 25 percent of the general fund. Austin Energy uses nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources to generate power. It also boasts the largest green building program in the country and offers a solar rebate program to incentivize customers to install solar panels in homes and businesses.

Austin Energy has been criticized for raising customer costs in order to meet its renewable energy goals. Some critics have even called the utility a monopoly. Like many municipalities in Texas, the City of Austin does not allow residents to choose another power company that may offer lower rates. The Texas legislature considered a bill in the 2011 session that would have deregulated electricity in Austin, though the bill did not go up for a vote. Retractors of the bill noted that it only targeted Austin and not other cities in Texas with similar utility programs.

Austin Energy is considering changing its rates permanently in 2012. Representatives said the change will accommodate the rising costs of materials and employee salaries.

Austin Energy also faced controversy in early 2011, when many homes and businesses in the Austin area lost power during February’s rolling blackouts that left nearly a million Texans in the dark. The blackouts occurred during the coldest week of the year when record numbers of customers were heating their homes. Austin Energy and Austin’s City Council are looking into the matter.

Latest Posts

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What Spain Can Teach Texas About Solar Energy

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Price of Wind Energy Goes Down in Texas

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As Renewable Energy Grows, Wind and Solar Pull Ahead of Hydropower

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El Paso May Become the First Texas City to Go Coal Free

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Largest Single Solar Plant in the State Planned for West Texas

From KRTS Marfa Public Radio: A California company has won a contract to build a 150-megawatt solar plant in West Texas. It would be the largest single plant built in the state so far, second only to the 400 mw system of plants planned for San Antonio. San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy isn’t saying where exactly it will build the plant. CEO [...]

Austin’s Energy Mix Just Got Much Sunnier

From KUT News:  Austin Energy will soon be getting more of its power from the sun. The city-owned electric utility has signed a deal, announced today, with a San Francisco-based firm to build the single-largest solar facility in Texas by 2016. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, Recurrent Energy will build a 150-megawatt solar farm in [...]

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How One Austin Church Could Lead to More Urban Solar Power

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