Enjoy Summer Savings
Manage Your Utility Bills with Easy Tools and Tips
When summer temperatures soar, your air conditioner works harder and drives your electricity bills higher. You might use more water for lawns, outdoor fun, company or household chores and see higher water bills. Austin Energy provides tools and tips to help you monitor your electricity use and manage your energy bills. Austin Water also has tools to track your water use and help you take charge of your water bills.
Whether you own or rent your home, our resources help you keep track of how much electricity and water you use, how to cut down on consumption, and how to increase your home’s overall efficiency.
Why Austin Energy and Austin Water Want Customers to Save Money
As a community-owned utility, Austin Energy’s customer driven and community focused approach brings a commitment to affordability, helping you save money and energy, especially during the hottest months of the year. Helpful and easy savings tips, tools and rebates regularly empower customers like you to lower energy bills, increase indoor comfort, improve indoor air quality and reduce your environmental impact.
Austin Water shares that commitment. An affordable, safe and plentiful water supply provides tremendous benefits to customers and helps ensure a strong future for the community. When you conserve water through Austin Water’s savings, tips and tools, you save on your water bills and help save water for future generations.
Start with Our Web Apps
- Try the Austin Energy web app to avoid surprises on your energy bill. View your home electric usage anywhere you have Internet access. You can also receive alerts when your usage approaches the next billing tier. Use your City of Austin Utilities online username and password to log in today
- The Austin Water Dropcountr home water use report program can help you save water and money. Available by app or online, the report gives you a customized water use profile for your household, information on your past water use, tips for saving water, and links to Austin Water conservation programs. Download the app at the Apple or Android app stores or create an account at the Dropcountr website.
Find Help with High Bills
The City of Austin has a long history of helping customers with their utility costs. The comprehensive Customer Assistance Program (CAP) channels millions of dollars annually to programs that help customers facing temporary and long-term financial difficulties as well as serious medical problems. Energy efficiency improvements are also available through CAP.
City of Austin services include:
- Utility Bill Discounts — Customers on low or fixed incomes who already participate in certain federal, state, or local assistance programs can benefit from the City of Austin’s CAP Discounts Program. CAP Discounts can help reduce utility bills an average of $760 a year.
- Financial Support Plus 1 — This program helps customers who are having financial difficulties and are unable to pay their utility bills due to unexpected emergencies. Austin Energy partners with local social service agencies who administer the funding to qualifying customers.
- Payment Arrangements — Payment arrangements are available to customers who fall behind on their utility bills. To enter into an arrangement, customers must pay their monthly bills on time and pay the current billed amount plus a monthly installment payment to reduce their delinquent balance.
- Budget Billing — Budget Billing is a service available to customers who prefer to avoid significant fluctuations in their monthly utility bills. To achieve this, Austin Energy takes an average of a customer's previous 12 months of utility bills to calculate an average utility bill payment.
- Services for the Medically-Vulnerable — The City of Austin offers a Medically Vulnerable Registry for customers with a long-term disease, ailment, or critical illness. Eligible customers receive additional time to pay their bills and receive one-on-one case management.
Remember These Rebates and Resources
- Weatherization Assistance — Austin Energy helps income-eligible homeowners and renters save energy and improve indoor comfort with no-cost home energy improvements, which may include attic insulation, minor duct repair/replacement, weatherstripping, and solar screens.
- Thermostat Rebates — Earn a $25 installation rebate for each eligible Wi-Fi thermostat you install. Plus, Austin Energy offers $85 back for participation in Power Partner Thermostat smart energy savings events.
- Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® — Enjoy greater savings by making whole home energy improvements with the help of rebates and loans when you need to replace a 10+ year-old air conditioner.
- Instant In-Store Savings — Austin Energy customers can receive instant savings while shopping for select energy-efficient products at participating Austin-area retailers. Simply purchase one of the eligible energy-efficient products at a participating retailer and get your instant savings when you check out.
- Residential Water Rebates — Austin Water provides several rebates to residential customers: up to $400 for an irrigation upgrade, up to $120 for landscape quality, up to $100 for a pressure-regulating valve, up to $5,000 for equipment to capture rainwater, up to $40 for hose timers, up to $1,750 to convert turf grass to native beds, and up to $500 for landscape features that retain rainwater.
Try These Tips
Texas heat sizzling beyond 100 degrees? Extra house guests? New home appliances? More time indoors? Older air conditioner working overtime? You might have many reasons for higher utility bills this summer.
- Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer. Raise the thermostat to 85 degrees when you are away for two hours or more.
- Install LED light bulbs. LEDs use 90% less electricity, generate less heat, and last 10-25 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, and five times longer than Compact Florescent Lightbulbs (CFLs).
- Point fans in your direction. Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around you feel up to 5 degrees cooler. Only keep fans on when you are in the room.
- Clean your AC condenser/evaporator coils. Clean coils lower your energy costs, extend the unit's life, and provide cleaner air for you to breathe.
- Keep debris and high grass away from the condenser. These obstacles block airflow, which makes the condenser work harder and run longer.
- Close shades/curtains on windows hit by direct sunlight. This helps to prevent heat from getting indoors.
- Provide shade for outside AC units. AC units shaded by trees or structures work more efficiently and use up to 10% less electricity.
- Avoid turning on the oven during the hottest time of the day. Using a microwave or a slow cooker produces less heat.
- Unplug appliances and electronic devices when you are not using them. They use energy even when they are turned off. Turn off your lights when you leave home.
- Let someone else pay the energy bills. Go to a library, shopping center or community center and take advantage of climate-controlled activities away from home.
Keep in mind these indoor and outdoor water tips, too:
- Water your lawn on your assigned day and times.
- Choose drought-tolerant plants. When landscaping, group plants with similar water needs together.
- Replace older toilets. High-efficiency models use 1.28 gallons per flush. A dual flush model uses even less water.
- Take shorter showers (five minutes, tops). If you take a bath, fill the tub half full.
- Replace bathroom faucet aerators and showerheads. Aerators use 0.5 gallons per minute, and showerheads use 1.5 gallons per minute or less.
- Turn off the water. Don’t use water while shaving, brushing your teeth, lathering in the shower and shampooing or conditioning your hair.
- Only run your dishwasher when full. Scrape food from plates instead of rinsing.
- Replace your clothes washer with models that use less water.
Check for Leaks
Water leaks can cost you money and waste water. Here is what you can do if you suspect a leak:
- Check Your Water Meter. Write down a meter reading, and check it again a few hours later (make sure not to use any water while performing this test).
- Toilets. Check for toilet leaks by adding several drops of food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes. Leaking toilets can waste about 200 gallons of water every day.
- Faucets & Showerheads. Check all faucets and showerheads for drips. A slow drip can waste as much as 20 gallons of water each day.
- Washing Machine & Dishwasher. Look for water on the floor near your washing machine or dishwasher, it could mean a leak.
- Water Heater. Water dripping down the side of the tank could mean the pressure relief valve is stuck.
- Irrigation System. Check the irrigation system for damage, especially after mowing your lawn. Schedule a free irrigation system evaluation if needed.
- Soggy Spots. Soft, soggy, spots in your yard or uneven plant growth might be a sign of a leak in your underground water pipes.
- Home Foundation. Standing water around the foundation could mean your underground pipes have become damaged.
For additional details on leak detection, access these resources from Austin Water.
Want to pass along these tips? Share these printable versions with your friends and family.
- Low Cost Ways to Save Energy (pdf)
- Water Conservation Checklist (pdf)
- Lista de control para la conservacion de agua
- Maneras para ahorrar energía con bajo costo (pdf)
- Water Saving Tips (pdf)
Stay Safe, Indoors and Outside
Summer brings outdoor activities like swimming, boating and barbecuing with family and friends. Summer also brings the usual safety warnings about heat, dehydration and protection from the sun’s harmful rays.
Outdoor hazards involve both water and electricity. Many of the activities we enjoy have electrical components, including pool pumps, boat dock lighting, electric rotisseries and even ice cream makers.
Some simple precautions can help you stay safe during summer activities:
- Make sure your children know to stay away from electrical substations and to never climb a substation fence.
- Do not attempt to climb utility poles or trees touching power lines. Also, never try to prune or trim trees touching power lines. Austin Energy can help you safely prune trees around power lines.
- Only use extension cords safe for outdoor use to power tools and toys when you’re working or playing outside. Remember that extension cords are a temporary, and not permanent, solution for powering appliances. Use only when necessary.
- Work on electric pool pumps or underwater pool lights when no one is in the water.
- Keep electrical appliances at least 10 feet away from pools or other bodies of water.
- Make sure appliances like blenders, mixers, power tools or other appliances with moving parts are switched off before plugging them in.
- Swim far away from boat docks, especially docks equipped with electric lights. If swimmers are near your boat, turn all electricity off. If there is faulty wiring, water can become energized and endanger swimmers nearby.
- Keep electronics away from the bathtub and shower, especially when plugged in. Phone chargers, hair dryers and similar items pose a risk near water.
- Make sure lamps and light fixtures are unplugged or switched off before attempting to change a lightbulb.
- Never use silverware or other metal items to retrieve items from a plugged-in toaster.
- Use outlet covers when small children are in the home.
Remember these water safety tips, too:
- Teach children to ask permission to go near water.
- Use physical barriers to prevent children from accessing any source of water.
- Make sure children stay away from water hazards in your community such as garden ponds, creeks and streams, wells and cisterns, and other bodies of water.
- Empty cleaning buckets and kiddie pools immediately after use. This also helps minimize mosquitoes.
- Use safety locks on toilets and keep bathroom doors closed and toilet-bowl covers down when small children are in the home.
- Never leave a young child unattended in a bathtub. Do not trust a child’s life to another child or to aids that help a child sit upright in a tub.