Home Investing News US summer home power bills to jump by nearly 8%, energy policy organizations say

US summer home power bills to jump by nearly 8%, energy policy organizations say

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. home energy bills are expected to rise by 7.9% this summer as extreme heat increases cooling costs, according to a study released on Monday by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association and the Center for Energy, Poverty, and Climate.

Mid-Atlantic and west coast states are forecast to have the biggest hikes in home electricity costs from June to September, jumping about 12% from the same period last year, said NEADA and CEPC, which are both Washington-based policy organizations focused on affordable energy access for people with low incomes. Steep rises of about 10% are also likely for Midwestern states and parts of the U.S. south, the organizations said.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Rising summer home power bills due to extreme temperatures and growing electricity demand disproportionably affect low income families, who are at higher risk of power shut offs and dangerous heat exposure caused by lacking air conditioning access.

BY THE NUMBERS

Summer cooling bills from June to September in 2024 are expected to reach $719 for households compared to $476 a decade earlier, the organizations said.

The U.S. south is likely to see overall highest costs, with power bills in Texas and surrounding states expected to hit $858 this summer, the organizations said.

Utility consumer debt, which is a measure of what power customers owe their electricity providers, rose to $20.3 billion in December 2023 from $17.5 billion in January of that year, the organizations said.

NEADA and CEPC estimates 21.2 million U.S. households, or 16%, are behind on their energy bills.

KEY QUOTE

“Access to affordable cooling is more than a matter of comfort,” the report said. “For many Americans, especially low-income households and members of vulnerable populations, the difference can be as stark as either staying safe and cool or ending up in the emergency room as a result of heat stroke, heart attacks, or other heat-related conditions.”

(Laila.kearney@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by Josie Kao)

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