AUSTIN (KXAN) With inflation on the rise and Austin Energy increasing its average customer base rate by about $15 per month, times are tough for many folks.

This Giving Tuesday, the City of Austin is allowing anyone to bring holiday cheer to someone in need by helping them keep the lights on at home.

It’s called the Gift of Comfort, a program allowing anyone — whether or not they are an Austin Energy customer —to donate directly toward paying off someone’s energy bill during these challenging times.

“City of Austin utilities customers often ask how they can help others in the community,” Austin Energy Vice President of Customer Account Management Elaine Veselka said. “Our Gift of Comfort program is the perfect opportunity to donate funds to assist with utility bill payments during the holiday season or any time of the year.”

This is part of the City of Austin Utilities’ Customer Assistance Program, which helps customers who are unable to pay their utility bills due to unexpected emergencies.

Since October, more than 1,200 customers have received over $400,000 in utility bill assistance.

“All you need to do is provide us with the name and address of a specific customer and donate towards the program,” Austin Energy spokesman Luis Rivas said.

To donate to those in need, you must visit Austin Energy’s website and download the Gift of Comfort payment form.

Fill out all of the form’s required fields and deliver it and the payment to one of the City’s Utility Payment Centers or mail it to:

City of Austin – Payment Processing
P.O. Box 2267
Austin, TX 78783-2267

The customer will receive a letter from City of Austin Utilities, letting them know they have received a gift payment toward their account. You can give anonymously or print a Gift of Comfort gift card to give to the recipient personally.

This special program also runs year-round, so this isn’t the only time that you can help out.