Save Money, Especially Now

Tools and Tips Can Help You Lower Utility Bills This Summer

City of Austin
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When summer temperatures soar, your air conditioner works harder and drives your electricity bills higher. You might use more water for lawns or household chores and see higher water bills. Austin Energy provides tools and tips to help you monitor your electricity use, manage your energy bills, and save money. 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 publicly-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 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.

Monitor Your Usage

  • Check your energy usage regularly to avoid surprises on your energy bill. You can view your home electric usage anywhere you have internet access simply by logging in to Online Customer Care. You can compare your usage to the previous month or year or to similar homes in your neighborhood. You can also set alerts for higher billing tiers and receive customized energy savings tips. For an even deeper dive into your usage, including solar panel production info, access the Austin Energy web app.
  • 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.
  Don't fall for the call! Scam warning

Stop Utility Scammers — Don’t Fall for the Call

Scammers have been targeting Austin Energy and Austin Water customers with threats to disconnect your utilities unless payment is made immediately via an untraceable method. Customers can end up paying scammers and losing money. Don’t fall for the call!

Report suspicious calls to 3-1-1. Learn how to recognize a scam.

To safely and securely check your account balance or pay your bill, visit Online Customer Care or call 512-494-9400.

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 survival tools like mulch and compost, 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.
Man cooling off with a room fan

Try These Tips at Home

Texas heat sizzling beyond 100 degrees? 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. ENERGY STAR® qualified LEDs use at least 75% less electricity, generate less heat, and last about 50 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, and five times longer than Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs).
  • Save while streaming. Streaming video on a game console uses 15 times more energy than streaming on digital media players. Streaming on a laptop uses four times more energy than streaming on a tablet.
  • Point fans in your direction. Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around you feel about 4 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.
  • Dim the Screen. Dim your televisions and computer screens to reduce energy use. Some TVs have a “home” or “standard” setting option to help. This can also help with eye fatigue.
  • Avoid turning on the oven during the hottest time of the day. Using a microwave or a slow cooker produces less heat.
  • Unplug appliances, chargers, 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 a room.

​Keep in mind these indoor and outdoor water tips, too:

  • Water your lawn only on your assigned day and times.
  • 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.
Irrigation sprinkler

Check for Leaks

Water leaks can cost you money and wastewater. 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 leak detection resources from Austin Water.

Want to pass along these tips? Share these energy and water savings tips with your loved ones.

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Stay Safe, Indoors and Outside

Summer brings safety warnings about heat, dehydration, and protection from the sun's harmful rays.

Outdoor and indoor 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.

These simple precautions can help you stay safe around electricity 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.
Life vest for water safety

Remember these indoor and outdoor water safety tips, too:

  • If you are going out on a boat or another vessel, dress for the water, not the air. Even when the temperature outside is warm, the water temperature could be chilly.
  • Prepare a float plan so other people know your schedule on the water, whether you plan to fish, hunt, kayak, or enjoy any other activity on the water.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits properly while enjoying activities on the water.
  • 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.
  • Stay hydrated! Summer heat can dehydrate you quickly, especially if you are exercising outdoors. Drink cool water regularly to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which require immediate medical attention.

Stay Safe During a Power Outage

Power outages are the result of a variety of causes—anything from traffic accidents and wildlife interference to severe weather. At Austin Energy, the safety of our crews and customers is our utmost concern. Follow these tips to stay safe during power outages:

  • Call 9-1-1 if you have a medical emergency or your life is at risk during a power outage. Do not wait for your power to be turned back on.
  • Report power outages and receive updates by text message. Text REGISTER to 287846 to get started. Austin Energy will send you proactive texts during outages to keep you informed.
  • Avoid downed power lines. Stay indoors if at all possible during a storm to avoid downed power lines. You must stay at least 35 feet away from any downed lines. If you believe there is a downed power line near your home or business, call 512-322-9100 to report it immediately.
  • Be aware that limbs, fences, hoses, playsets, and other structures near you can become energized by a downed power line.
  • If you must travel across the city in the aftermath of severe weather, first consult the Outage Map to view the location and types of known electrical hazards.
  • Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns during an outage. Candles and kerosene lanterns are not recommended for lighting because of fire risks and fume hazards.
  • Follow safety precautions with portable emergency generators. Portable generators may be used to provide limited electrical power during an outage, but take care to ensure that they do not pose a threat to you and your family. Gas-powered generators pose serious fire and carbon monoxide threats.
  • Never fuel or run a portable generator inside the home, place of business, or garage.
  • Make sure the generator is equipped with a double-throw transfer switch that protects your equipment and prevents feedback on power lines.
  • Always operate generators according to the manufacturer's instructions and ensure installation meets proper electrical requirements.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed during an outage. Home refrigerators can keep food cold enough for a day or two without power, if the doors are kept closed. As a rule of thumb, 25 pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer at the proper temperature (32 degrees F) for three to four days. When in doubt, throw it out. Read the USDA guidelines for keeping food safe during outages.
  • Turn off major appliances. When major appliances such as air conditioners are left on, they could overload electric lines once power is restored, causing a second outage. Leave just a few light switches on, including one or two exterior lights. Gas appliances may not work if the power is off because the equipment may require electricity for ignition or valve operation.
  • Do NOT attempt to assist emergency and utility crews. It's dangerous work. Let the pros handle repairs and restoration.

Understand Wildfire Risk

In Central Texas, the peak season for wildfires is April through October. During windy and stormy weather, swaying and broken tree limbs can rub against and hit or bring down power lines. Such impacts can cause service fluctuations, outages and fires.

Learn More

Date last reviewed or modified: 5/20/20


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