Stories by Bill McCann

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 by Bill McCann

Climate change report prepared for Austin predicts weather extremes

The first indications of how climate change likely will affect Austin in the coming decades are beginning to emerge. A just-completed report by City of Austin staff sets out some sobering scenarios of potential future conditions. Extremes of heat, drought…

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 by Bill McCann

Austin Energy now backs full collection of line extension costs

Taking a cue from City Council members, Austin Energy has shifted its position and now supports recovering the full costs of extending power lines to new customers starting in October. Utility officials plan to take the new proposal to the…

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Bill McCann

Austin Energy to build $67 million office building in East Riverside area

Facing continued cramped quarters and a big-dollar lease, Austin Energy officials say they hope next week to take a major step toward construction of a new office building for the city’s electric utility.   Austin Energy officials plan to ask…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 by Bill McCann

New LCRA team: varied experience, highly paid

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s new general manager Phil Wilson received a hefty pay increase when he moved from the hot seat at the Texas Department of Transportation to another hot seat at the state-created water and power authority two…

Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Bill McCann

Activists ramp up campaign for renewables and against fossil fuels

As Austin Energy begins to update its energy plan, local solar and environmental advocates have ramped up their three-year campaign to get the City of Austin to invest even more in renewable energy and to pull the plug on coal.…

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 by Bill McCann

Solar project draws praise at Generation Plan hearing

Solar energy advocates were still buzzing Monday at the recent news that Austin Energy has negotiated a 25-year contract to buy up to 150 megawatts of solar-generated electricity at a price that is among the lowest ever.   A number…

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by Bill McCann

New wind-power agreement is Austin Energy’s cheapest

A wind-power purchase agreement going to the City Council Thursday for approval will not only allow Austin Energy to reach a key renewable energy goal four years ahead of time, it will be the cheapest wind energy the utility has…

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by Bill McCann

Renewable energy pioneer retires from Austin Energy

Michael Osborne, long-time entrepreneur, author, and renewable-energy pioneer in Texas, is turning another page in his storied career.   Over the past four decades, Osborne has built energy-friendly homes; developed the first wind farm in Texas; helped form the Texas…

Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Bill McCann

Austin Energy backs retiring city’s share of Fayette plant in 2025

Shifting position on the Fayette Power Project, Austin Energy has recommended retiring, rather than selling, its share of the controversial coal-burning plant.   The recommendation calls for the city to establish a shut-down date of 2025, nearly a decade later…

Thursday, January 30, 2014 by Bill McCann

City staff identifies financial options to assist small businesses

A City Council committee this week backed a staff report recommending four financial and payment assistance options for the full Council to consider to help small business contractors and subcontractors cope with meeting City of Austin living-wage requirements. Staff recommendations…

Thursday, January 9, 2014 by Bill McCann

Memo cites major legal hurdles for city to get out of coal plant

The City of Austin faces formidable legal hurdles and potentially significant costs if the City Council decides to sell or shut down the city’s share of the coal-fired Fayette Power Project, according to a new city Law Department memo.  …

Thursday, December 19, 2013 by Bill McCann

EUC rejects bid to join battle over reduced value of solar rate

While solar advocates continue to be upset over Austin Energy’s decision to reduce a rate used to compensate residential customers for the value of electricity generated by their solar units, the Electric Utility Commission has decided against joining the fight.…

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Bill McCann

EUC backs plan to shift all franchise fees to suburban customers

For months, consumer watchdog Paul Robbins has been pushing a proposal to have suburban customers of Austin Energy pay the total cost of franchise fees that the utility pays to six suburban municipalities for use of public rights-of-way in those…

Monday, December 9, 2013 by Bill McCann

Austin Energy reduces incentives, credits for solar users on grid

Austin Energy customers who have installed solar electric systems or are planning to install them are facing a reduction in the incentives offered by the utility.   Utility officials defend their actions, saying the reductions are based on budget limits…

Friday, December 6, 2013 by Bill McCann

Council eases rules on delinquent utility bills

At the urging of advocacy groups and a tenacious City Council Member Kathie Tovo, the Council on Thursday approved an ordinance that gives additional breaks to residential utility customers having trouble paying their bills.   Supporters of the ordinance said…

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 by Bill McCann

EUC advocates major policy change on line extensions

Taking a cue from the Austin City Council’s recent action to increase fees for hooking up new water and wastewater service, the city’s Electric Utility Commission has voted to ask the City Council to take similar action for extending new…

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 by Bill McCann

Electric cars see jump-start in Austin

With a predicted 300 percent jump in the number of plug-in electric cars taking to the road over the past year, Austin continues to be one of the nation’s leaders in this clean-running form of transportation.   While the numbers…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by Bill McCann

Austin Energy plans major push on energy app

Austin Energy is getting ready to take a big leap forward in a program aimed at encouraging customers to save energy and money by signing up to get free updates of their electricity use, including email and text alerts when…

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Bill McCann

Consultant says doubling city’s solar goal do-able but expensive

Should Austin double its already ambitious solar energy goal?   It’s a question that has begun to get renewed attention from solar advocates, environmentalists, utility officials and others following a year-old recommendation by the City Council-appointed Local Solar Advisory Committee…

Monday, July 29, 2013 by Bill McCann

Austinites make up 6 of 10 employees at firms with economic agreements

Roughly  6 out of every 10 workers hired by companies that have economic development agreements with the City of Austin live in Austin, according to an informal survey by Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office.   EGRSO officials say…

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