AUSTIN (KXAN) Austin city leaders will give an update Tuesday morning on how city shelters will keep you and others safe if it gets cold outside.

In the meantime, it may be more expensive to heat your home this winter.

Austin Energy customers are already paying more in their monthly bills after Austin City Council approved a pass-through rate increase in October. This March, a base rate increase will go into effect.

With this in mind, many folks are trying to comfortably keep their home warm while using the least amount of electric power.

According to Austin Energy, you should set your thermostat to 68 degrees on heat. If you are leaving town for an extended period of time for holiday travel, the public utility recommended bringing down the temperature to 65 degrees.

That way, it’ll keep homes warm without overworking heaters cycling on and off.

Randi Jenkins, Austin Water assistant director of customer experience, said you’ll want to ensure your water heater stays warm and check on your yards.

“You’ll want to make sure that your irrigation system is turned off and not running overnight,” she said. “Ensuring that all of those are not leaking.”

Austin Energy spokesman Luis Rivas recommended using natural light to cut costs.

“We want customers to actually open the curtains, open those drapes, let the sun come in,” he said. “Let the sun warm up your house.”

To help its customers prepare for the winter season, the City recently held a free handout event.

Meter keys, hose bib covers, hand-crank flashlights, emergency preparedness kit materials and winter preparedness tip sheets were given to anyone who showed up at the City of Austin Utilities Customer Service Centers.

The City will host a similar event in January.

Here are the dates and locations:

North UCSC:    

8716 Research Blvd., Suite 115

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022 and Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023

8 a.m. – 2 p.m., or while supplies last

East UCSC:    

Rosewood-Zaragosa Center

2800 Webberville Road

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 and Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

8 a.m. – 2 p.m., or while supplies last

South UCSC:    

1901 W. William Cannon Drive, Suite 100

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 and Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

8 a.m. – 2 p.m., or while supplies last