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Tips for lowering your utility bills during the stay-at-home orders

Here are 10 ways to help lower your utility bills.

AUSTIN, Texas — Many are seeing higher utility bills because we are staying home more than ever. According to the City of Austin, residential energy usage has increased by 19% since last month.

Jennifer Herber with City Of Austin Utilities gave KVUE some tips on how to manage energy and water use.

  1. Make sure you set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher if possible.
  2. Turn on a ceiling fan to see if that cools you down and, if not, close the blinds to keep the sun's heat from entering your home.
  3. On cooler days, open up the blinds and use natural light instead of electricity.
  4. Turn off and unplug any electronics you are not using because, while they are plugged in, they can still suck up energy.
  5. Dim your televisions and computer screens to reduce energy use. Some TVs have a “home” or “standard” setting to help.
  6. Wash full loads of laundry using cold water if possible. Herber said heating water uses energy.
  7. Electricity is cheaper at night so the more you can do later, the better.
  8. Instead of the oven, use slow cookers, toaster ovens, microwaves or grills, especially during the summer.
  9. When washing your hands, turn off the water – but yes, still wash for 20 seconds.
  10. Adjust refrigerator temperatures to 35°F to 38°F and set freezer temperatures to 0°F. Keep fridges indoors and out of garages to save energy.

RELATED: Utility bills could surge as Austinites stay at home, work remotely

If you are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can reach out to City of Austin Utilities.

"We can help get you on a payment arrangement, and we have a bunch of ways we are helping people," Herber said. "One, we have suspended all disconnect payments and we are waiving all late fees."

They also have the Plus 1 program to help you pay your utility bills. To see everything City of Austin Utilities has done to bring relief to residents, click here.

WATCH: Energy use spiking during 'stay home' order

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