AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Energy is sharing some tips to help the community reduce their electric bill during the summer months.
The utility company says that as the summer heat increases, air conditioners are forced to work harder which can drive up electricity bills. So the company has released some energy-saving tips for customers.
Save energy by:
- Setting your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher when possible. Raise your thermostat to 85 when you leave the house. Every degree higher can decrease your bill by 3 percent.
- Avoid turning on large appliances like an oven or washing machine during the hottest time of the day. Microwaves or slow cookers produce less heat.
- Keep curtains and blinds drawn on windows hit by direct sunlight, which can quickly raise indoor temperatures 5-10 degrees.
- Point fans in your direction to help you feel 2-4 degrees cooler. Turn them off when you leave the room. Fans cool people, not rooms.
- Unplug appliances, chargers, and electronic devices when you are not using them. They use energy even when they are turned off.
The utility company is also warning against scammers as the extreme heat also attracts scammers who often prey on customers.
"It’s not just the temperatures that are on the rise. Last week, City of Austin Utilities heard from more than 100 customers that scammers tried to trick them out of money and personal information," the utility company wrote in a press release.
Scammers are known to try to dupe customers into believing that their utility bill is past due and that their utilities will be shut off if they do not make an immediate payment, according to the company.
Tips to avoid scammers:
- All utility disconnects for non-payment are suspended and all late fees are waived until Sept. 30, 2020.
- The 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.)
- Austin Energy will never ask for credit card or wire transfer information over the phone.
Austin Energy says they will never demand immediate payment in person with cash, gift cards, or Bitcoin. The company also says that if any City of Austin customer receives a phone call threatening to interrupt service, demand immediate payment, or request credit card or bank account information, hang up and dial 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 and report the incident immediately.
Customers who have received a call that they find suspicious and are uncertain of their account status should call the Utilities Customer Contact Center at 512-494-9400. The utility company also states that walk-in payment enters are currently closed due to COVID-19 but online payments can be at COAUtilities.com.
For more helpful savings tips, tools, and rebates that can help lower energy bills, visit austinenergy.com/go/summer.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.