AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly has called for a “comprehensive audit of Austin Energy’s response” following last week’s ice storm and amid ongoing power outages. She also called for an audit reviewing Austin Energy’s Vegetation Management plan.
The measure received support via co-sponsorship from three additional council members. On an Austin City Council forum, Council Member Leslie Pool said she supported status briefings and progress reports from affected agencies following the storm but added “we do not know what that report will tell us and that is why I do not support your call for audits at this time.”
Under Kelly’s call for an audit, she said the audit would include the following evaluations:
- Adequacy of vegetation management plan and areas for improvement
- Execution of vegetation management plan, including frequency and qualify of inspections, pruning and removal efforts
- Collaboration between Austin Energy and other city departments during the storm
- Allocation of resources for vegetation management and storm response, including staffing, equipment and funding
- Identification of best practices and lessons learned from the ice storm
- Recommended improvements for the vegetation management plan and winter storm responses
- Review of Austin Energy’s “operation practices” as they relate to the ice storm
“As elected representatives, it is our duty to take charge when challenging times in our community happen,” Kelly said in the release. “During the February 2023 freeze, our community needed answers and didn’t receive them. This is why it’s important that we make an effort as a step forward to answer the call of so many Austinites.”
Per the release, the resolution will be included on the council’s Feb. 9 agenda.
On Thursday, two other council members, Alison Alter and Vanessa Fuentes, requested a briefing on the City’s storm response during Tuesday’s work session.
“As we recover from this storm, our community deserves answers. As policymakers, we need to better understand what worked and what didn’t in our response, which processes require improvement, and where we need to make adjustments or investments moving forward,” the council members said. “We anticipate this will be the first of many conversations that we must have with Austin Energy, City leadership, and with our community.”