AUSTIN (KXAN) - With the extreme heat sticking around, energy consumption will be at its peak this week.
The company's most widely used program is the "Low-Income Discount Program".
To take part, you must already be receiving benefits from federal, state or local assistance programs.
Nearly 10,000 customers use the program, saving about $400 per year per family.
Another assistance program is the Plus-One Fund, which helps customers with extreme hardships such as medical illness or sudden job loss.
One program available to any customer is the "Levelized Billing Program," which is for customers who want to avoid large fluctuations in their monthly bill. Austin Energy averages a customer's previous 12 months of utility bills to calculate an average payment.
The summer temperatures are rising right along with the demand for energy, which could make the supply of electricity fall short unless Texans conserve.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use during peak energy use hours from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
ERCOT manages the electric grid for about 85 percent of Texas and is expecting a peak demand of electricity to exceed 65,000 megawatts for Tuesday.
People can help by turning off all unnecessary lights and delaying chores that require electricity-consuming appliances until later in the evening.
Air conditioners are one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances in a household and are recommended to be used efficiently during the summer to save Texas' future energy supply.
Efficient use of energy during the hot summer months will lower your electricity bills and decrease the strain on Texas's electric grid.
Conservation tips from the Public Utility Commission's "Powerful Advice" are:
- Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances and electronic equipment.
- When at home, close blinds and drapes that get direct sun and set air conditioning thermostats at 78 degrees or higher.
- When away from home, set thermostats to 85 degrees and turn off all fans before you leave.
- Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryers, coffee maker or other home appliances during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Avoid opening refrigerators or freezers more than necessary.
- Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven.
- Set your pool pump to run in the early morning or evening instead of the afternoon.
ERCOT urges businesses to reduce the use of electricity-consuming and lighting equipment as much as possible.
Businesses that consume a large amount of electricity should shut down nonessential production processes to conserve energy as much as possible during these hours.
Austin Energy has installed about 90,000 programmable thermostats in homes and businesses of consumers who are volunteering to participate in Austin Energy's Load Cooperative Program .
Participation in this program allows Austin Energy to track how much electricity is being used during these hours and helps to keep the electric rates low.
This program also allows volunteers who are able to reduce their energy usage during these peak hours to receive cash incentives.
Conservation is the least expensive way to make sure there is enough electricity to meet the demands for the summer temperatures.
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