AUSTIN, Texas — It's not cheap to keep the air conditioning running. Electricity bills are expected to go up as high temperatures are here to stay in Central Texas.
However, there are some ways to help cool down spending on power. According to AARP, you don't have to be 50-year-old or older to benefit either.
For customers struggling to pay their electricity bill, one option is Deferred Payment Plans. It allow customers to pay in installments or directs people to assistance programs that can help.
According to Austin Energy, the City of Austin Customer Assistance Program (CAP) helps residential customers facing temporary and long-term financial difficulties, as well as those with serious medical problems.
Budget Billing is another option to help save some money. When using budget billing, the City of Austin Utilities will calculate customer's monthly payment by adding together utility service averages based on usage information and days of service. After 6 months, the utility company will update and review individuals' monthly budget payments to make sure its an accurate reflection of usage.
For those with family members who have underlying health conditions, Critical Care or Chronic Care Status may be something worth looking into. This means if someone in your household has a medical condition that could be life-threatening without power, enrolling will help avoid disconnection if you get behind on bills.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs offers a program that can help find local assistance. The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program is designed to help low-income families and can even assist if a household's air conditioning is broken.
A few more housekeeping tips to keep the family cool and lower the bill this summer is:
- Install door sweeps
- Weatherproof doors and windows, caulk any cracks
- Unplug appliances you don't use
- Turn fans counterclockwise
- Set thermostat to 78 degrees or higher
- Keep blinds and curtains closed
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