Our Advocacy is Spreading!

I am occasionally asked to speak to other business groups on a variety of topics. Its a great thing to do to spread the word about AIBA and I love connecting with other organizations. Recently I was asked to speak to two different groups on advocacy. I spoke at the Greater Austin Restaurant Association and to the Austin Founder Lions Club last week. Interesting that they both picked the topic of advocacy.

What I learned from these two groups is that businesses aren’t happy with our current city leaders and are interested in being more active. This is a good thing and I both encouraged them to become more active. After almost 15 years in City Hall advocacy for local business, I’m pleased to help lead the way for others. My talks are candid and direct and I hope lead to a greater level of activism.

Speaking of activism, the Austin Founder Lions Club is hosting the Ninth Annual Sporting Clay shoot-Out that benefits the Austin Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and are looking for teams to participate. If you’re interested in a shooting competition with NFL legends, this is for you. Fore more information and to register or sponsor, see the form online.

New Email Invoices

We’re getting settled in our new member management system, Wild Apricot, and learning it’s wonderful and wacky ways. You may have noticed that we’ve gone to email invoices. Our new system allows you to login and renew your membership and update your information. It’s so easy!

New members are given a password when they join but renewing members need to choose “Forgot Password” and set a password to login.

We know this is a change and we all get so many email but be sure to watch your inbox for items from AIBA. Thanks!

ePlan Review Update

The City of Austin’s Development Services Department’s Commercial, Residential and Expedited Building Plan Review teams are now accepting electronic plan submissions through ePlan Review, an electronic plan and document management system. This tool provides a convenient central hub for development project groups (including applicants and City reviewers) to communicate and complete the entire plan review process online, from the initial application stage to final approved plan sets.

ePlan Review saves customers substantial time, money and resources by:

  • Reducing travel time to DSD’s offices at One Texas Center on Barton Springs Road.
  • Allowing plan uploads from anywhere, anytime
  • Improving turnaround times and accuracy with collaborative reviewing
  • Reducing paper, printing, fuel, storage and disposal costs.

To use ePlan Review, applicants must first create an active user internet account by registering on the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) website. Once registered, complete the appropriate permit application and submit to the appropriate review email below:

Paper applications may also be delivered to intake staff on the 2nd Floor of One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road.

Once a completed application and payment fees are received, the applicant will receive an email from DSD to upload the required drawings and documentation. The drawings and documentation will then be distributed to the appropriate plan review staff for review.

Please note ePlan is mandatory for all Expedited Commercial permit applications.

Visit the ePlan webpage for more information.

Austin Energy News Flash

In an effort to keep you informed, we wanted to let you know of a new solar leasing pilot, as well as to warn you of scammers posing as City of Austin Utilities representatives.

Update 1: Solar leasing pilot
Austin Energy now has a pilot program offering Performance Based Incentives (PBIs) for commercial customers who want to use an operational lease to go solar. Operational leases can help make going solar even more attractive. With little to no up-front capital cost, companies will not have to use their working capital toward a solar investment. The lessor monetizes federal tax credits and depreciation on behalf of customers, so you can leverage the federal tax credit without tax liability. The solar assets are off the balance sheet with an operational lease. Lease payments are considered an operating expense that reduces taxable profit. Find out more about Austin Energy’s Solar PBI  by visiting the website today.

Update 2: Watch out for scams
Please be aware that scammers are targeting businesses in the Austin area with fraudulent emails, phone calls and even text messages. They pose as representatives of City of Austin Utilities and tell customers that service will be disconnected unless immediate payment is made. 

We want you to know that City of Austin Utilities will never:

  • ask customers for credit card or bank account information over the phone
  • ask customers to purchase or pay via gift cards or prepaid debit cards
  • ask customers to make a wire transfer or pay by Bitcoin

The City of Austin Utilities Customer Contact Center does not call residential customers with cut-off deadlines. (Note: Commercial customers may receive a courtesy call two days prior to scheduled cut off for non-payment.)

 If a customer receives a phone call or email threatening to interrupt service, demanding immediate payment or requesting credit card or bank information, they should dial 3-1-1 and report the incident immediately. If any customer is uncertain of their account status, they should call 512-494-9400 or visit our Online Customer Care Portal.

For questions, please contact Murray Jones at Murray.Jones@austinenergy.com or 512-972-7636 if your facility is north or Neil Leach at Neil.Leach@austinenergy.com or 512-972-7885 if your facility is south. We value your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Thank you very much for your time. We value your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

 Sincerely,
Kerri Davis
Kerri Davis | Manager, Commercial & Key Accounts | Austin Energy
721 Barton Springs Rd. | Austin, TX 78704 | 512-322-6574

Nominate Your Favorite Local Business for an Armadillo Award

We are excited to announce the 6th Annual Armadillo Awards on April 25! We hope you will join us at the Armadillo Awards Party but first take a moment to nominate your favorite local businesses in seven categories. 

Nominate local businesses in one or all seven categories now through February 28.

Voting is March 18-April 5 when you’ll vote for your favorite local businesses from all the nominations—we usually see more than 1,000 nominations! Each year we receive more than 30,000 votes so make sure yours are counted!Five finalists in each category will be honored at the Armadillo Awards Party on April 25. 

Attend the Armadillo Awards Party on April 25. It’s the Indie Biz party of the year held at the Historic Scottish Rite Theater.  Be there! RSVP Now.

Beware of Scams Targeting Local Business

The scammers are active and have been targeting Austin businesses and residents claiming to be Austin Energy. At least one AIBA member has been hit with this so beware. Multiple phone and email scams are targeting utility customers in Austin, including commercial customers. Telephone or email requests for payment using credit or money cards to avoid shut-off are not from Austin Energy or City of Austin Utilities Customer Care.

We will:

  • Never ask customers for credit card, Bitcoin, or bank account information
  • Never ask customers to purchase gift or money cards over the phone
  • Never ask customers to make a wire transfer

If customers receive a phone call or email threatening to interrupt service, demanding immediate payment, or requesting credit card, Bitcoin or bank account information, they should hang up and dial 3-1-1 report the incident immediately. If a customer is uncertain of their account status, they should call 512-494-9400 or visit our Online Customer Care Portal (https://coautilities.com).

More information is available on our website at https://austinenergy.com/ae/residential/report-a-problem/report-telephone-scams