In this episode of Grid Talk, host Marty Rosenberg talks with the General Manager of Austin Energy, Jackie Sargent. The discussion is focused on the city-owned utility’s push to be carbon free by 2035 and ensuring equity for electric customers.
“When we are at looking moving forward and reaching those carbon-free goals, affordability is part of that equation, and it’s really important for us that we address the customers who are most vulnerable within our community,” said Sargent.
Austin Energy has one of the most robust customer-assistance programs in the country.
“Not only do we provide utility bill subsidies and savings for those customers, but we have a whole slate of wrap-around services. We actually work with 56 partners in our community to support these customers because you could help them with their utility bill, but they have a lot more needs than just paying for their electricity.”
The utility is proactive in making sure programs are accessible.
“We’ve also brought on a consultant to create a Customer Journey Map to help us understand what our customers experience when they’re requesting, and they’re receiving, services from us, and we’ll use that to help us to better direct those services to those or the people that most need them and create the best customer experience for all of our customers.”
Jackie Sargent rejoined the Austin Energy team as General Manager in August 2016. From 2010 to 2012, Sargent served as Senior Vice President of Power Supply and Market Operations at Austin Energy before joining Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, as General Manager and CEO. Sargent also served as Vice President of Power Supply and Renewables Integration for Black Hills Corporation in South Dakota.
Sargent is a licensed professional engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science in Technology Management from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.