Officials give tips on how to lower utility bills

Officials give insight on how to keep utility bills low. (ABC 7 Amarillo-file photo)

Heat is plaguing the area this week as temperatures hit the triple digits.

As the mercury rises, so do electricity and water bills as people try to keep their homes cool and grass watered.

Xcel Energy Spokesman Wes Reeves said there are many ways to reduce what you pay.

"Make sure you're keeping any air you're generating from your air conditioner unit inside your house, obviously keeping doors and windows closed," said Reeves.

Another tip is to keep your thermostat at a set temperature.

"We always recommend that 78 is a really good setting for your thermostat. May not be as comfortable as some people want it to be, but you can actually save a lot of money by keeping it in that range."

78 degrees may seem hot but compared to temperatures outside, it will feel fairly cool.

If you don't mind spending extra money up front, you can upgrade to a programmable thermostat.

"So, you're not constantly going back and forth. When you leave the house, you can program it to raise the thermostat settings automatically," said Reeves.

In order to conserve water for a parched lawn, Amarillo's Director of City Utilities Russell Grubbs said there's a simple test to see if it's time to water.

"If you look at your grass and walk across the lines and you leave indentations, you need water," said Grubbs.

And indoors, challenge yourself to use less water.

"Watch what you use, especially in your house. Don't leave your water running while brushing your teeth and basically, take shorter showers."

Overall, you're likely to see a smaller utility bill this summer. Electricity prices have dropped by six percent since last summer.

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