Updated: Monday, 01 Oct 2012, 5:49 AM CDT
Published : Sunday, 30 Sep 2012, 7:53 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Our weather is starting to cool down in Austin, which means less need for air conditioning.
That's good thing because our Austin Energy bills are about to go up, starting on Monday.
The rate increase averages at about a 7 percent spike on your next bill. But Austin Energy also adds this is the first rate increase in over 18 years -- something they say was long overdue.
The new rate increase has been in talks for a while now, but starting Monday it will be put in effect. The utility requested that the new rates go up by 12 percent to help with their budget deficit but city council voted to increase the rates by 7 percent instead.
The good news is the average user won't see too much of an increase during the coming winter months.
Austin Energy says during the winter 85 percent of their customers use 1000 kilowatts per hour or less, which amounts to about a $3 increase.
Now, with the new rate, the more energy you use means the more your bill will jump.
During the summer months, Austin Energy calculated that 80 percent of their customers use 2000 kilowatt hours or less. The rates are more expensive during the summer so if your using the average amount of energy your bill could go up by up to $44.
Austin Energy says these new rates still keeps them as one of the most affordable utilities amongst other cities in the state.
"One of the things that the city council has asked us to set as a goal and meet is that our electric rates remain at the lower 50 percent among utilities in Texas and to achieve that, we can't have rate increases more than 2 percent a year moving forward," said spokesman Ed Clark. "So we have that affordability goal, and that's pretty stringent."
And Austin Energy has created a calculator on their website where you can type in your old usage to see the new amount on your bill.